Every team in the NFL is going through the process of whittling their roster down to the 53 players, which they will use to establish their identity this season. The Philadelphia Eagles continually moved to the magic number, releasing some notable names. Although the players released are not high-profile names across the league, each of the players had a decided upside when joining the Eagles.
Most prominent of the players released on Saturday was former first round draft choice, Danny Watkins. The 23rd pick in the 2011 NFL draft, Watkins never lived up to the clout that comes with such a high selection. He had trouble from the beginning under Andy Reid, and never really found his way, in an offense that wasn’t really fit for him, under new head coach Chip Kelly. Watkins does leave his mark on the Eagles, most particularly in the salary cap, where he will cost them over $1 million with what he was guaranteed this season.
In addition, the Eagles cut tight end/wide receiver Clay Harbor from the equation. Harbor was quite overmatched at the tight end position with the upgrades the Eagles made during the 2013 offseason, adding James Casey, as well as drafting rookie Zach Ertz. Harbor spent some time in the past few weeks trying to fit in at the wide receiver position where Philadelphia has been depleted with injuries. It never really panned out in that situation either which made the release of Harbor easier in the end. Chances are that Harbor will catch on somewhere else because of his big frame and mobility.
Offensive tackle, Michael Bamiro, another of the released players, had a large upside. His build-up was more based on the fact that he was a steal outside of the draft, based on the fact that he had petitioned for another year of eligibility in college. The Eagles still have interest in Bamiro who may still land on the practice squad, if he clears waivers. However, many other teams had interest in the beginning and if they’re willing to pick up the guaranteed salary, he may end up elsewhere.
Finally, Chris McCoy was probably the most surprising of the cuts on Saturday after a stellar performance in the final preseason game against the New York Jets. McCoy seemed overmatched by the progress the Eagles have made in this area on defense over the past year, but most likely got caught in the numbers game. This was definitely the toughest call for the coaching staff to get to 53.
As the day finishes, now the focus can divert itself to what becomes most important in Philadelphia, Week 1 in Washington.