The uncertainty of this experimental NFL season led to two more casualties. The Eagles’ roster has been trimmed to 90 players.
The team announced on Thursday that it had released wide receivers Marken Michel and River Cracraft. Philadelphia needed to free up two roster spots after adding offensive tackle (Christin McCaffery blocker) Casey Tucker and running back (Super Bowl hero) Corey Clement.
Remember, the Eagles are bringing back 66 players from last season along with 10 new draft picks and 13 undrafted rookie free agents. Plus, international program player Matt Leo (roster exempt) and Olympic track star turned wideout Marquise Goodwin (acquired from San Francisco via trade).
The moves are all part of the Eagles’ newfound dedication to youth and speed.
“It’s no different than in any draft. We’ve always valued the present and the future,” GM Howie Roseman told reporters before the darft. “That’s our responsibility to make sure that we are competing, not only this year but going forward, especially [when] we talk about having a quarterback [Carson Wentz] who is 27 years old.”
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Clement Returns to Beloved ‘Bird Gang Life’
Clement met with Philly reporters on Thursday and described the logic and process behind his return to the Eagles. The 25-year-old running back was an integral part of the Super Bowl championship team (Philly Special anyone?) and grew up an Eagles fan in nearby Glassboro, NJ.
For Clement, it was never a question of if he would wear midnight green again, it was a matter of when. He instructed his agent that Philly was the only place he wanted to play. He never investigated another opportunity in the NFL. When he saw the Eagles didn’t take a rusher in last week’s NFL Draft, well, he figured he had a shot at getting an invite to training camp. Bird Gang for life.
“I was always gunning to get back to Philly,” Clement said. “I feel I have a lot left in the tank when it comes to BirdGang Life. I want to retire here someday. If I could bleed green, I would.”
“I love what Duce Staley brings to that room, the running backs room,” he said. “That room is untouched when it comes to the grind.”
Eagles’ Depth Chart at Wide Receiver
Philadelphia now has 14 receivers on the roster, minus Cracraft and Michel.
Cracraft was signed to the Eagles’ practice squad in 2019 and signed to a futures contract last January but never appeared in any regular-season or preseason games. He came over from the Broncos where he made one reception for 44 yards in two years in Denver.
Meanwhile, Michel joined the Eagles last January and then was waived after training camp. He was re-signed to the practice squad last December and inked a futures contract in January. Three months later, he’s gone. Michel finished with four catches for 117 yards in four preseason games, including a 75-yard touchdown grab.
The Eagles are down to 14 wideouts heading into camp, with three rookies slotted for big roles: Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, Quez Watkins. In terms of a preliminary depth chart, DeSean Jackson figures to be the No. 1 target with Reagor on the other side. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Marquise Goodwin will fight it out for the slot position unless Greg Ward Jr. states his case for it.
The team also has the following players on the roster: Alshon Jeffery, Deontay Burnett, Shelton Gibson, Robert Davis and Marcus Green. They will enter camp with undrafted rookie free agents Manasseh Bailey (Morgan State) and former quarterback-turned-receiver Khalil Tate (Arizona). One more wrinkle: Jeffery is expected to begin the season on injured reserve (if he’s not traded). Got all that?