Eagles propose four rules to be considered by NFL next week

Eagles propose four rules to be considered by NFL next week

Next week, when the NFL convenes for its owners meetings in Phoenix, there will be 15 proposed rule changes under consideration by the competition committee. 

While the one proposed rule change would cut regular-season overtime from 15 to 10 minutes (see story), there are 14 others up for discussion. 

Of those 15, seven were submitted by NFL teams. And of those seven, four were submitted by the Eagles

Three of the four rule proposals from the Eagles are safety related. 

Here are the four from the Eagles, per the NFL: 

1. Gives additional protections for long snappers on kick plays. 

2. Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays. 

3. Expands the “crown of helmet” foul to include “hairline” part of helmet. 

4. Amends the challenge system by granting a third challenge if a club is successful on at least one of its initial two challenges, and expands reviewable plays outside of two minutes of each half.

The first proposed rule would offer long snappers -- Jon Dorenbos included -- some extra protection. It would add this language to Article 6, Unnecessary Roughness: "When a team is in scrimmage kick formation, a defensive player may not initiate contact with the snapper until one second has elapsed after the snap." 

The second proposed rule change is one of the proposals that has garnered the most attention. Basically, the league now allows players to leap over the line of scrimmage on kicks as long as they don't touch anyone. This new rule would completely outlaw the process of leaping over the line. 

It seems like this rule change is likely to happen. The NFLPA has previously asked for this rule to be changed. 

"So the inevitable is going to happen, and just hearing from the players association, Philly now proposing it is really in the best interest of the game," former Eagle and league football operations director Troy Vincent said on a conference call Thursday. 

The next rule does pretty much exactly what it says: it expands the area that is considered to be the "crown of the helmet." 

Here's the new language that would be added to Article 8, Initiating Contact with the Crown of the Helmet: "Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the crown or 'hairline' parts of the helmet against any part of an opponent shall be considered a foul even if the initiating player's head moves after initial contact and the majority of contact occurs with the side or front of the helmet."

Finally, the last proposal isn't a safety one. It's about replay and is pretty self-explanatory for the most part. 

The reasoning given for this rule change on the proposal: "Provides coaches with a greater opportunity to correct subjective officiating errors, but excludes those fouls that have a minimal opportunity for reversal."

Eagles pre-2017 draft depth chart: How it stands and what it means

Eagles pre-2017 draft depth chart: How it stands and what it means

We're still a little over a month away from the NFL draft in Philly and the Eagles have some pretty notable holes, while some positions seem good to go.

The Eagles added three players through free agency -- Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Chance Warmack -- and re-signed several of their own players, while several others walked as free agents.

Right now, there are 72 players on the roster -- 40 on offense, 28 on defense and four special teamers. (If you're wondering, they have $9,751,328 in cap space, according to the NFLPA.) The Eagles will be able to bring 90 guys to training camp.

We're still months and months away from the season, but here's an updated look at the team's depth chart before the draft:

QB: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles
Chase Daniel and his ridiculous backup salary are gone and replaced by Nick Foles and a still-pricey, but not-as-crazy salary. Foles was once the starter in Philly, but there's no QB controversy here; Wentz is the franchise quarterback and it's just Foles' job to help him out over at least the next two seasons.

Last year, the Eagles didn't carry a third quarterback on the active roster, instead keeping Aaron Murray on the practice squad. Murray is now with the Rams, and the Eagles don't have a third. There's a chance they could look for a QB late in the draft or bring in some kind of developmental QB to stash on the practice squad this year.

RB: Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Byron Marshall, Terrell Watson, Ryan Mathews
You'll notice Ryan Mathews at the tail end of this list. That's because it still seems likely the Eagles will cut him and save $4 million in cap space once he heals from that nasty neck injury he suffered late in the 2016 season. That doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon, though. There's, perhaps, a slight chance Mathews returns, but it still seems unlikely.

That would leave an aging Sproles, a second-year guy in Smallwood and two undrafted rookies from a year ago. So the Eagles will need some help. It would be surprising if they don't draft a running back, although that doesn't mean they'll use a first-round pick on one. Remember, the franchise has had success drafting running backs in later rounds and just last year vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas, while with the Bears, took Pro Bowler Jordan Howard in the fifth round.

FB: Andrew Bonnet
In his first season as head coach, Doug Pederson elected to not use a roster spot on a fullback. He had Ryan Mueller in camp briefly in the spring and then Bonnet was on the practice squad for a little during the season. Pederson elected to use Beau Allen and Isaac Seumalo as lead blockers. It will be interesting to see if that continues or if he'll put more stock into keeping a fullback around.

TE: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton, Anthony Denham
The top three guys are back after the Eagles slapped a second-round tender on Burton, who was a restricted free agent. Basically, the second-round value on his tender means that he'll be back in 2017 and the team likely will continue trying to sign him to a long-term contract like it did during the 2016 season. Denham was on the practice squad, which is his best bet again.

LT: Jason Peters, Matt Tobin, Dillon Gordon
LG: Chance Warmack, Allen Barbre, Darrell Greene, Josh LeRibeus
C: Jason Kelce, Stefen Wisniewski, Josh Andrews, Aaron Neary
RG: Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Dallas Thomas
RT: Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Taylor Hart


The Eagles list 10 players who can play guard on their roster. To put that in perspective, they kept just 11 total offensive linemen on their initial 53-man roster last season. Something has to give, right? Maybe Jason Kelce eventually will be traded or maybe the team will change its mind and decide to move on from Allen Barbre. But for now, the Birds are extremely deep on the interior of their line.

The tackle spots are a little different. After Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, the depth isn't great. Big V had an OK rookie season, and Matt Tobin kind of is what he is. Barbre and Seumalo offer the flexibility to play tackle, but it's not their strength. The team lists Dillon Gordon as a guard, but his best fit is probably at tackle. Though, Gordon is a converted tight end and is still raw. The wild card right now is Taylor Hart, who is converting from defensive tackle to offensive tackle. No one really knows if he can play there yet.

WR1: Alshon Jeffery, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Johnson, Rasheed Bailey
WR2: Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, Bryce Treggs, David Watford, Dom Williams
WR3: Jordan Matthews, Paul Turner

This looks a lot different than it did a month ago. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith come in and immediately get penciled in as starters, and Jordan Matthews continues to hold down the slot. That means DGB and Nelson Agholor become role players instead of starters. Because of his salary, Agholor will be on the team in 2017; DGB isn't guaranteed. With extra outside receivers, it might also make some sense to see Agholor play some in the slot this season. Also, this depth chart includes training camp All-Stars Paul Turner and Rasheed Bailey -- everyone rejoice!

DE: Vinny Curry, Marcus Smith, Alex McCalister
DT: Fletcher Cox, Aziz Shittu, Justin Hamilton
DT: Beau Allen, Destiny Vaeao
DE: Brandon Graham, Steven Means


This defensive line lost two starters from last year's team. Connor Barwin was cut and Bennie Logan walked in free agency. Replacing them, respectively, are Vinny Curry and Beau Allen. Curry signed a big deal last offseason, so he'll get a chance to prove he's worth it. And unless the Eagles use a high pick to take a DT, Allen gets thrown into the starting lineup.

Marcus Smith and Steven Means are the top backups at end, and we'll see what Alex McCalister offers after a redshirt 2016 season. Undrafted rookies from a year ago, Destiny Vaeao and Aziz Shittu, provide the depth at interior tackle.

The Eagles clearly need to draft defensive linemen in April.

OLB: Nigel Bradham, Najee Goode
MLB: Jordan Hicks, Joe Walker, Don Cherry
OLB: Mychal Kendricks, Kamu Grugier-Hill


As of March 23, Mychal Kendricks is still an Eagle. That could change, though, if the Eagles find a trade partner for him. Kendricks has struggled in recent years, but he's still young and athletic and might bring back some kind of return. Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham both return after working well together in 2016. Bradham enters the final year of his two-year contract.

There's not much depth after the starters. Joe Walker returns after an ACL tear and a couple of special teamers are the top backups. The Eagles might look to bring in a draft pick to throw into the mix.

CB: Jalen Mills, C.J. Smith, Mitchell White
S: Malcolm Jenkins, Jaylen Watkins
S: Rodney McLeod, Chris Maragos, Terrence Brooks
CB: Ron Brooks, Aaron Grymes, Dwayne Gratz

The Eagles' biggest need is cornerback and it's not close. Not even close to being close. They can't go into the season without some changes to this part of the depth chart. It would be pretty shocking if they don't add a couple corners in this very deep draft class. Don't be surprised if they add a safety or a corner/safety either. While the starters are set, Chris Maragos is viewed by the Eagles as a special teamer (a great one, by the way) and Jaylen Watkins is a huge drop-off from Jenkins or McLeod.

K: Caleb Sturgis
P: Donnie Jones
LS: Jon Dorenbos, Rick Lovato

The top three guys are set. Sorry, Rick Lovato, you did well filling in last year, but this long-snapper job still belongs to the Magic Man.

Connor Barwin: Eagles wanted me to take 'very drastic pay cut'

Connor Barwin: Eagles wanted me to take 'very drastic pay cut'

Even after he had already said publicly that he'd take a pay cut, when the Eagles cut Connor Barwin on March 9 it wasn't a surprise. 

Barwin's production had dropped and he was set to have a cap hit of over $8 million and the Eagles saved almost all of that space by releasing him. 

Appearing on 94WIP on Tuesday afternoon, Barwin, who has since signed with the Los Angeles Rams, detailed his final couple of weeks with the Eagles. 

"After the season ended, I said that I would take a pay cut," Barwin said. "Obviously, when I signed my deal, which some people don't understand, I signed six-year, $36 million deal that was backloaded with $18 million in the last two years, so I knew whether I was getting 10 sacks or five sacks, we were going to restructure at Year 5. And that's really what I was alluding to when I said a pay cut. The Eagles had only paid me $4 or $5 million a year my first four years, so they weren't just going to start paying me $8 or $9 (million). 

"So I said I would take a pay cut and obviously my agent met with (Eagles de facto GM) Howie (Roseman) and his staff at the combine and they were looking for a very drastic pay cut, so we decided to go our separate ways. Howie was great. He obviously took as long as he could to try to work out a trade to get some value for me and then he did the right thing to release me the day before free agency started and allowed me to kind of continue my career."

When Barwin said he would take a pay cut, it seemed like an overly optimistic thought. From the outside, it was always pretty clear that he wouldn't be on the team in 2017 unless he reduced his salary a ton. That's apparently what the Eagles asked and it's hard to fault Barwin or the Eagles for moving on.  

Barwin, 30, was understanding of the situation and thought the Eagles handled it well. 

"Obviously, I knew things were happening about a week before they happened last Wednesday," he said. "And that still made Thursday, the day I was released, a very hard day for me and my family. But Friday and Saturday, you move on and look to the future."

The future for Barwin is in LA, where he is reuniting with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Barwin played under Phillips with the Texans before he earned the big contract in Philly. 

Barwin seemed excited to be back in Phillips' 3-4 defense. Last season, Barwin had to transition from a 3-4 into Jim Schwartz's 4-3, but has continued to say that wasn't the transition that hurt him the most. Last season he also moved from the left side of the defensive end to the right, which meant going up against the best left tackles in the game. With the Rams, Barwin will be back on the left. 

While he will be living in LA, his foundation, the Make the World Better Foundation, will continue to do charity work in Philadelphia and Barwin said he's made Philly his home. That isn't changing. 

During the interview with Chris Carlin and Ike Reese on WIP, Barwin revealed he has an interest in joining management of a team after his playing days are over. So with that eye, he gave his assessment of where the Eagles are heading. 

"Now, I'm on the outside, I think it's smart what Howie is doing," Barwin said. "I think they've got a great quarterback or what could potentially be a great quarterback in Carson Wentz and they're giving him weapons. They obviously loaded up on the offensive line, which I think is smart. You're always going to get one or two injuries a year. I think that they've got seven or eight guys, good guys on their offensive line and obviously they've added wide receivers. 

"And lastly, I think the future is bright for Doug because just playing for him one year, I know that guys wanted to play for him. Guys enjoyed being around him. He enjoys being around the guys, he loves being around football. And I think that's important. 

"Obviously, as a defensive player, I'm excited to see what Vinny does with this opportunity, what other guys they kind of bring in to fill my hole. Obviously, Jim Schwartz has had a ton of success in this league and I'm excited to see what they do up front, adjusting to me being gone."