It’s good to have roster depth, especially when the starter isn’t expected to return. The Philadelphia Eagles signed veteran tight end Richard Rodgers to a one-year contract. He saw action in 14 games last year for Philly and caught 24 balls for 345 yards and two touchdowns.
Rodgers first earned his stripes catching passes from Aaron Rodgers for the Green Bay Packers. This marks the fourth time that the Eagles have re-signed the 29-year-old since 2018. He started four games in 2020 while serving as a reliable fill-in option when both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert went down with injuries.
Rodgers could take on the role of backup tight end this year, depending on what happens with Ertz. The Eagles are expected to trade or release the three-time Pro Bowler who skipped spring OTAs. The Buffalo Bills remain a strong possibility to land Ertz. In addition, the team officially signed veteran receiver Michael Walker.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson offered an update on Ertz: “As of conversations today, my understanding is that apprehensions with production and consistency at the Bills tight end spot are still a topic of conversation in Buffalo. Something to keep an eye on, especially with folks still staking out Zach Ertz’s situation in Philly.”
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Eagles’ 12 Personnel, Tight End Depth
Goedert is the presumed starter at tight end, with Caleb Wilson, Tyree Jackson, Jason Croom, Jack Stoll, and Hakeem Butler all fighting for the third spot. Rodgers has carved out a solid career with 145 receptions for 1,518 yards and 15 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons.
Nick Sirianni is expected to keep some of the “12 Personnel” packages (two tight ends on the field together) that the Eagles ran last season. However, it might not be a priority. The Indianapolis Colts only ran 20.9-percent of their plays from those sets under Sirianni in 2020.
“It forces a bad matchup for one of the defensive backs,” Sirianni said.
However, new tight ends coach Jason Michael still needs to evaluate the entire tight ends group when they throw the shoulder pads on at training camp.
“They’re working hard to learn the system,” Michael told reporters. “We’re a long way away from training camp, we’re a long way away from the start of the season. When we get in pads that’s when we’ll get a true chance to evaluate these guys. Everyone in the room, to see who’s going to make those strides.”
Goedert Pushing for New Contract
The other shoe ready to drop could be a new contract for Goedert. The fourth-year tight end is playing on the final year of his rookie deal and expressed interest in getting something done before the 2021 season begins. He has 137 receptions for 1,465 yards and 12 touchdowns in 42 games. The Eagles may want to lock him up before those numbers jump due to starter reps.
“For me, if I could get the contract extension, I would love to be in Philly forever,” Goedert said. “Having the second contract is the ultimate goal. The sooner you can get to it, I feel like it’s better. But either way, whether I get it or not, I’m going to have the same mentality. I have to go in there, have a good year, we have to make the playoffs, we have to get more wins than we did last year.”
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