Eagles Release 2 Nostalgic Veterans on Franchise Tag Day

Treyvon Hester

Getty Defensive tackle Treyvon Hester poses with his Eagles teammates in 2019.

The Philadelphia Eagles parted ways with two veteran defensive players on Tuesday: safety Blake Countess and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester. They had been signed to futures contracts at the end of the season but clearly weren’t in their long-term plans.

Originally a sixth-round pick in 2016, Countess joined the Eagles’ practice squad last December — his third stint with the franchise — and saw action in two games in 2020. The 27-year-old made three total tackles and played 27 snaps (six on defense, 21 on special teams). He was brought in right after Rodney McLeod was lost for the year due to a torn ACL.

Meanwhile, Hester was a seventh-round pick in 2017 and joined the Eagles’ practice squad last November for his second stint with the franchise. The 28-year-old didn’t see any snaps for the Eagles in 2020 but played 15 games for the Washington Football Team in 2019 (eight tackles, one sack). He’ll best be remembered for tipping the infamous “Double Doink” ball during Philly’s 2018 wild-card victory over the Chicago Bears.

“I think we went with some veteran players, and I think we did that because it was more short-term thinking,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said on Jan. 4. “And we’ve put a lot of resources into this team in terms of money and free agents and trading draft picks and there’s a time where — that doesn’t mean we’re not trying to win, but there’s a time you have to pivot and understand what you’ve been doing and make sure that you’re also taking care of the future of the team.”

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Eagles Don’t Place Franchise Tag on Anyone

The Eagles have rarely used the NFL franchise tag in their history so it was no surprise that the 4 p.m. deadline came and went Tuesday without incident. The organization is looking to rebuild and shed salary, whereas the franchise tag commits a boatload of money to one player.

Teams often use it as leverage to keep stars under contract for one year and avoid a long-term commitment. However, it requires the franchisee to pay that player the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position. The last time the Eagles used the franchise tag was back in 2012 (DeSean Jackson) and they have only used it five times since the designation was introduced in 1993.

Ten players received the franchise tag on Tuesday, most notably the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott. Dallas slapped the tag on the quarterback strictly as a procedural move until he signs his new contract extension valued at $160 million.

Draft Scout Calls Kyle Pitts ‘No Brainer’

The masses keep whispering loudly in Roseman’s ear: take Kyle Pitts in the first round. The latest to lobby for the Florida tight end was NFL Network draft guru Daniel Jeremiah — and one-time Eagles personnel scout — who called Pitts a “no-brainer” for Philly at pick number six.

“This Kyle Pitts is a rare dude and I would take him,” Jeremiah said in a conference call. “I think he can emerge as the best tight end in the National Football League. He’s got that type of dynamic ability, and I think when you have Jalen Hurts and you want to see what he can do, and now you got Kyle Pitts and you got [Dallas] Goedert, you got two guys that can really uncover — and you’re going to have favorable matchups right in the middle of the field if you want them. Those can be some easy completions, so to me, that one would make the most sense and I think it would make their offense the most dangerous.”


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