Eagles Complete Rowe Deal, Extend Sturgis
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles continued to make news with their 53-man roster Wednesday, finally confirming the Eric Rowe deal and extending kicker Caleb Sturgis through 2017.
Rowe, the team’s 2015 second-round pick, was sent to the New England Patriots for a conditional fourth-round pick. Offensive lineman Josh Kline, who originally was thought to be heading to Philadelphia in the trade, was not involved and released by New England to make room for Rowe.
The draft choice the Eagles did receive could be elevated to a third-rounder depending on Rowe’s playing time in New England.
Although Rowe was a priority pick last year during the Chip Kelly regime, he clearly wasn’t in Jim Schwartz’s plans and was the team’s fifth cornerback behind starters Leodis McKelvin, Nolan Carroll and Ron Brooks, as well as seventh-round draft pick Jalen Mills.
“First of all, let me start by saying that I appreciate everything Eric has done for this organization,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said during his Wednesday press conference. “And then with the guys that we have, and then bringing back C.J. Smith (on the practice squad) and different things, it was a good opportunity for our organization to make some moves and to further his career.”
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Pederson rarely mentioned Rowe when talking about the corner position through the offseason and training camp unless they were specifically asked about him.
A safety for the majority of his career at Utah, Rowe played his final college season at corner and Kelly regime loved his length and athleticism for the position.
A former player who used to play for Schwartz told 973espn.com that the defensive coordinator prefers physical corners who show some swagger, however, and while Rowe certainly has the size to excel in press coverage, it never translated to the football field where he was more of a zone-coverage option.
“I think that in his case, Jalen Mills was having a good camp,” Pederson claimed. “You bring in Leo (Leodis McKlevin), you bring in Ron Brooks, Nolan (Carroll) is back healthy. There’s a lot of competition at that position. It’s what we wanted way back in the spring and going into training camp."
Now, Rowe becomes the latest reclamation project for Bill Belichick and the Pats, who have a long history of utilizing players correctly.
“As you know, he was like, for us, the fourth corner, fifth corner right now going into the season," the coach said. "This gives him an opportunity to play. That’s what you want from your players in the National Football League, is to play. This gives him an opportunity.”
Sturgis, meanwhile, won the placekicking job by outperforming Cody Parkey throughout the summer and was rewarded with an extra year on his deal that could reach up to $1.3 million with incentives.
Sturgis originally signed with the Eagles in Week 4 of last season and connected on 18 of 22 field goals and 35 of 37 PATs. In the preseason this year he made all three field goals and all three extra points he attempted.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen