Eagles Start Trimming, Release Givens, Randle
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Paul Turner was the big winner on Sunday as the undrafted free agent was given a clear path to the final 53-man roster when the Eagles released receivers Rueben Randle and Chris Givens.
The veteran wideouts were among eight players released by the team as Howie Roseman beat the Tuesday deadline to get down to 75 early.
The biggest surprise among Sunday's cuts, however, may have been defensive tackle Mike Martin after Doug Pederson seemed to speak highly of the former third-round pick, who hasn’t been able to go in any of the preseason games due to a knee injury.
“He's a veteran guy that understands how to play [and] how to get himself ready to play,” the coach said when discussing Martin last week. “He's also in a position where you're probably not going to lean on him for more than 15, 20, 25 snaps a game. And that's what you want out of him. Just getting him to the gate on Sundays is obviously where you want to be and what you want to do.”
Something obviously changed and that might be the ceiling on another undrafted free agent, Destiny Vaeao, who has caught the eye of the coaching staff.
As for Turner, his hands have him in a position to make this roster along with the more proven commodities like Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, the recently-acquired Dorial Green-Beckham and Josh Huff.
Turner shouldn’t rest easy just yet, though, because the Eagles already tried to bring back receiver Rasheed Bailey on waivers even after securing DGN in a trade, indicating the organization knows it needs to continue to add talent to one of the shakiest position groups on the team.
Others released on Sunday, included cornerbacks Denzel Rice and Randall Evans, former starting right guard Andrew Gardner, who struggled on the edge after being moved back to tackle, safety Nick Perry and long snapper John DePalma.
Meanwhile, a pair of rookie seventh-round picks were sent to injured reserve, linebacker Joe Walker, who was in line to make the team before tearing his ACL in Pittsburgh, and defensive end Alex McCalister, who was redshirted with a calf injury.
The 240-pound McCalister needs to add significant weight if he ever plans to hold up on the edge in the NFL.
The Eagles roster now numbers 73, two under Tuesday's 75-man limit. That could be good news for two members of the Arena Bowl Champion Philadelphia Soul, receiver Darius Reynolds and defensive lineman Jake Metz, who are scheduled to work out with the Eagles on Monday.
Reynolds had 112 catches for 1,447 yards and 38 touchdowns for the Soul this season, while Metz led the team with eight sacks.
Philadelphia must reach the NFL-mandated limit of 53 by Saturday at 4:00 ET.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen