One of the most important questions for the Philadelphia Eagles heading into this training camp is how many veterans should be retained. After a dismal showing last year, how many veterans actually deserve to have a spot on the roster? Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has told the media that his depth chart is more like a seating chart and everything is an open competition at this point. This statement, coupled with the arrest of Aaron Hernandez, has sources like NJ.com and Birds 24/7 addressing the idea of moving one of the Eagles’ tight ends to the New England Patriots as a replacement for Hernandez. I think, if the offer comes to the table, the team would be foolish not to make a deal.
Brent Celek’s best season came in 2009, when he posted 76 catches for eight scores and an average of 12.8 yards per catch. He was the reliable target for Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb to find across the middle. He would make the catch, ramble off a few tackles, get the first down and do his trademark celebration. His lack of impact in 2012 was a large result of scheme. With the non-existent offensive line, he was kept in to block on numerous occasions.
Kelly said he may run plays with three tight ends on the roster. This can work if you have three true tight ends. Celek, last year, did not have the ability to stretch the field. Clay Harbor is younger and has some spots to improve, but he should make a contribution in Kelly’s offense. Zach Ertz, if he can catch up after missing camps due to the graduation requirement, has the potential to start on day one. James Casey will be used in multiple roles and could certainly see time as a tight end in certain formations.
Celek is the odd man out. At the moment, Kelly has seven tight ends on the roster. He cannot enter the season with that many, and there are still other holes to fill on the team. The building phase is not over, and Kelly should keep his options open. Celek has contributed over his seven years of experience and now his next contribution could be through a trade with the Patriots.