Eagles Waive Vaeao; Bring Back CB McDougle
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles are banged-up in the defensive backfield with Carolina set to invade Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday so bringing back cornerback Dexter McDougle wasn't necessarily a surprise.
How Philadelphia made room for McDougle was, however. To fit McDougle on the roster the Eagles waived/injured defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao, who had been starting next to Fletcher Cox on the defensive interior due to injuries to Tim Jernigan and Haloti Ngata.
Vaeao, however, didn't produce much while playing 158 defensive snaps (41 percent of the team's total) and of the 111 interior defensive linemen who've played enough to be graded by ProFootballFocus.com, Vaeao was No. 103.
The Washington State product was credited with six tackles this season and recorded his third career sack and first of the season during the win against the New York Giants last Thursday night.
Over the past two games with Ngata down with a calf injury, Vaeao played 46 snaps (74 percent) against Minnesota and 28 (43 percent) against New York. He was waived with an injury designation, meaning he was banged up against the Giants.
With Jernigan out for the foreseeable future after offseason back surgery, the hope is Ngata is ready to go against the Panthers as a two-down player with Michael Bennett and Brandon Graham alternating inside next to Cox in the team's NASCAR package. Defensive tackle Winston Craig was also brought back to the practice squad.
The Eagles also shifted linebackers on the PS, bringing in B.J. Bello earlier in the day and releasing Kyle Wilson when the Craig signing was announced.
McDougle, a former third-round pick by the New York Jets in 2014, was acquired by the Eagles in August of 2017 in exchange for safety Terrence Brooks. He then signed a one-year extension and was the backup to Patrick Robinson as the nickel corner and a key special-teamer for the first half of the season before being released in November.
Since then McDougle has had cups of coffee with New Orleans, Jacksonville, and Detroit but never caught on.
He arrives back at the Novacare Complex after starting nickel back Sidney Jones went down with a hamstring injury that coach Doug Pederson has labeled a "week-to-week" injury.
With safety Corey Graham also dealing with a hamstring, rookie Avonte Maddox started at free safety opposite Malcolm Jenkins against the Giants and then slipped down into the nickel spot with Rasul Douglas rotating into the back end when the Eagles went with an extra defensive back after Jones exited.
McDougle offers another potential slot body for Jim Schwartz and understands the defense so he can probably be ramped up to play against the Panthers with a full week of practice if needed.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen