Chris Long Decision Pushed Back Again
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - For the second time the Eagles have pushed back the deadline for Chris Long to make a decision on whether he wants to play in 2019.
According to ESPN's Field Yates, Philadelphia and Long, 34, agreed to move a $1 million roster bonus he was due on May 1 until the first day veterans are required to report to training camp. Previously the decision on money was to be made near the start of the league year before being pushed back until after the draft.
Long recently told Philly.com's Jeff McLane that he told the Eagles to prepare that he wasn't going to be back but the constant kicking of the can down the road indicates the door remains at least slightly ajar for a return.
The latest push of the pause button enables the Eagles to look at some of their younger players at defensive end in spring work, like fourth-round pick Shareef Miller and second-year players Josh Sweat and Joe Ostman while Long skips OTAs, something he admitted that he wasn't necessarily excited about at this stage of his career.
The real issue for Long is the role, however.
He would like to play if the nickel pass rush role is available but Philadelphia has penciled in Malik Jackson next to Fletcher Cox on the interior pass rush which would keep Brandon Graham at left end with Derek Barnett on the right side. Unless that plan changes Long is unlikely to return.
Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman addressed the defensive end position after the draft and the addition of Miller.
"I think the first order of business was to bring back [DE Brandon Graham]. What BG brings to us on and off the field was such a huge move for our football team," he said. "Bringing back Vinny [Curry] at defensive end and then [DE] Daeshon Hall is a guy we got last year who was a third-round pick and he's really taken a step in the offseason here, just with his body.
"Obviously we can't see him out on the field. [DE] Josh Sweat, we knew that him having a full offseason and coming back was something that he really needed to continue to develop. [DE] Joe Ostman is a guy that, again, when you look at the transition he's made with his body just in the offseason, I know a lot of the coaching staff is excited to see him in his second year.
"So you get those guys at defensive end, and then you add the guy we get today and it's a good mix of veterans and young players and obviously [DE Derek Barnett] coming back, our first-round pick, we're really excited about."
EAGLES ADD A SAFETY
The Eagles weren't able to get any safety help in the draft but Roseman made a point to say "talent-acquisition season has not ended."
He made good on that Tuesday by claiming safety Godwin Igwebuike off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers.
Igwebuike, 24, was waived by the 49ers on Monday after the draft. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Northwestern by Tampa Bay last year despite being graded as a draftable commodity by most. He started last season on the Bucs' practice squad before being promoted for one regular season game. The Niners ultimately landed Igwebuike and he played five games with them, mainly as special teams help.
A second-team All-Big Ten selection during his senior season for the Wildcats, Igwebuike, who is the son of former Bucs and Vikings kicker Donald Igwebuike, joins Tim Hauck's safety room in Philadelphia which includes starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, a player returning from a season-ending knee injury, as well as free-agent pickup Andrew Sendejo, Tre Sullivan and Deiondre’ Hall.
Versatile Cincinnati defensive back Tyrell Gilbert is also set to come in as an undrafted free agent and may be earmarked for safety when the Eagles hold their rookie minicamp from May 10-12.
EAGLES CREATE ROOM FOR UNDRAFTED CLASS
The Eagles will be hosting their rookie minicamp, starting on May 10 and have agreed to terms with a number of undrafted rookies creating an overswell on the 90-man offseason roster.
To rectify that the team waived three players, including cornerback Chandon Sullivan, who spent some time on the 53-man roster. The others were released spent time in the practice squad, linebacker Asantay Brown and offensive lineman Kaleb Johnson, a Ruthers product.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen