The Eagles were predicted to make a splash at the NFL trade deadline. They barely made a ripple, choosing to ignore the big names on the market and simply trim their own roster down.
Philadelphia made one minor move on Tuesday when they released Jason Croom. The former Bills tight end ends his Philly career with one catch for three yards on 13 offensive snaps. It was a pretty big grab, though. Croom caught a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Ravens to start the improbable, almost-comeback win. The Eagles eventually lost 30-28 but Croom — an emergency practice-squad call-up that week — was added to the 53-man roster the following day.
“These guys — to give us the chance to tie it up at the end of the game — obviously we came up short and we’re frustrated with that,” quarterback Carson Wentz said of the new guys after that game, “but I’m proud of these guys and we’ll keep building with this.”
The 6-foot-5, 246-pounder went undrafted out of Tennessee in 2018 and spent his first two years in Buffalo where he caught 22 balls for 259 yards and a touchdown. Croom missed the entire 2019 campaign after hitting injured reserve with a nagging hamstring injury. It was unfortunate since he had “budding chemistry” with Bills quarterback Josh Allen at the time.
A multi-sport standout in high school, Croom was the 20th-ranked wide receiver prospect (No. 15 in the state of Georgia) and played his college ball at Tennessee. He racked up 60 catches for 816 yards and six touchdowns in 26 games for the Volunteers. He earned a reputation as a lengthy target with surprising speed for his bulky frame. Croom converted from wide receiver to tight end after his junior year so his blocking was seen as a weakness.
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Eagles Still Lack Tight End Depth
Zach Ertz remains on injured reserve and isn’t expected back until Week 11 at the earliest. That leaves Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers as the only active tight ends on the Eagles roster, with Hakeem Butler and Caleb Wilson waiting down on the practice squad. There is a good chance the team tries to sneak Croom back on the practice squad assuming he clears waivers.
UPDATE: As expected, the Eagles re-signed Croom to their practice squad on Wednesday after he went unclaimed on waivers.
Speaking of Goedert, the South Dakota State product made just one catch for 15 yards — Goedert saw one target on 53 offensive snaps — last week versus Dallas. The 25-year-old was making his first start since Sept. 29 and the team may have been using him more of a decoy. Wentz tried to explain the reason for Goedert’s lack of involvement after Sunday’s game.
“I think some of it was zone coverage and just kind of how the plays were designed,” Wentz said. “I know Dallas and who he is and he’s going to have lots of catches the rest of the year. I think there was some uncertainty if we would have [Goedert] for the week, so I don’t think we fully designed the plan to really highlight him, so to speak. It’s definitely something that we’ll keep building on.”
Standing Pat at NFL Trade Deadline
Meanwhile, all the hype surrounding the Eagles being buyers or sellers at the deadline was overblown. They decided to hold onto their draft picks and expiring contracts instead of making a drastic move on a one-year rental player.
It was something GM Howie Roseman alluded to coming out of training camp and, considering the team’s salary-cap situation, it makes a ton of sense. Philly hits the bye with reinforcements on the way, including starting running back Miles Sanders and (hopefully) starting wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
“I think you guys know me well enough; that’s hard when there’s opportunities for me to sit with my hands tied and for us to sit with our hands tied,” Roseman told reporters on Sept. 5, “but that’s just the reality of the situation that we’re in unfortunately right now, and hopefully it’s short term and we’ve got a bunch of young players on this team who will step up, as well as a lot of veteran players who we are going to count on.”
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