NFC East: Brandon Bair

PHILADELPHIA -- There is roster change every year for NFL teams. The Philadelphia Eagles find themselves in pretty good shape going into the 2014 offseason. They have control over most of their roster and can, for the most part, make only the changes they want.

Here's how the roster shapes up:

Unrestricted free agents: Wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin; safeties Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson; quarterback Michael Vick; defensive end Clifton Geathers, punter Donnie Jones.

The Eagles could lose all of those players without taking a major hit. That doesn't mean those players aren't valuable, merely that they're not irreplaceable. It's not as if LeSean McCoy or Mychal Kendricks or Jason Kelce were free to leave.

My guess is general manager Howie Roseman will make solid market offers to Cooper, Maclin, Allen, Geathers and Jones. He will not overpay for any of them. If some other team does, the Eagles will move on without the player in question.

Players due for contract extensions: Defensive end Cedric Thornton (exclusive rights free agent) and center Jason Kelce.

Let's project to the year 2022. The 35-year-old Kelce announces he is playing his final season after 13 years with the Eagles. That's how things should go with this guy. He's smart, physical, athletic and exactly the kind of player teams should commit to. So yes, extend Kelce.

Thornton was one of the delightful surprises of 2013. An undrafted rookie from Southern Arkansas, he hung around for a couple years without anyone paying much mind. But he's living proof of Chip Kelly's no-expectations approach. Kelly judges based on what a player does, and Thornton was very good this year.

Players who could be gone: Vick, Anderson, Coleman, wide receiver Damaris Johnson, kicker Alex Henery, linebacker Brandon Graham, safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Phillip Hunt (restricted free agent on IR), wide receiver Arrelious Benn, offensive lineman Dennis Kelly.

Mostly self-explanatory. Vick wants to find a place where he can start. Even if he doesn't, the Eagles really like Matt Barkley and may well prefer a younger (read: cheaper) No. 2 behind Nick Foles.

Henery will have competition for the kicking job next summer. Not sure he'll answer that bell. Graham belongs at end in a 4-3 defense and may get a chance to return to one. The Eagles tried to replace Chung over and over but injuries kept him in the lineup.

Johnson lost his return job and never played on offense. Anderson has been a solid special teams guy, but Kelly likes versatility and may prefer a replacement who can fill in on defense, too.

Veterans on the salary-cap bubble: Tight end Brent Celek, linebacker Trent Cole, guard Todd Herremans, wide receiver Jason Avant. They are all good enough players to stay. That, not their cap numbers, should be the deciding factor.

Youth movement: The Eagles signed their practice squad and one other player to futures contracts. They are linebackers Emmanuel Acho, Josh Kaddu and Travis Long; offensive tackle Michael Bamiro; defensive end Brandon Bair; wide receivers Will Murphy, B.J. Cunningham and Ifeanyi Momah, and tight end Emil Igwenagu.

The takeaway here: The Eagles staff spent a lot of time coaching these guys and one or three of them just might become contributors.
PHILADELPHIA -- Chip Kelly emerged, blinking at the late-morning sun, for the first game-week practice of his NFL career. He also addressed the media for the first time since the roster cutdown from 75 to 53.

Some headlines:
  • Nate Allen won the starting strong safety job, but rookie Earl Wolff is going to see some action. “Earl’s pushing,” Kelly said. “Right now, Nate’s a little bit ahead of him. He’ll play at safety, too. We’ve just got to get him in the game.”
  • Kelly addressed the perception that it helped players to have “Oregon” on their résumés. He has five former Ducks, three on the 53-man roster and two on the practice squad: safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Casey Matthews, wide receiver Jeff Maehl and practice squad players Isaac Remington (OL) and Brandon Bair (DE). “If we’re going to sing the Oregon fight song, it would (help),” Kelly said. “Aside from that …”
  • Chung, the free safety, is the only starter from Oregon. The other two roster spots, Kelly said, went to Matthews and Maehl because of their special teams capabilities. “For backup players, there were three ways to make this team,” Kelly said. “Special teams, special teams, special teams. The special teams consideration, at times, outweighs their production as a backup linebacker or a backup wide receiver. How are they contributing during a game? They’re contributing as a special teams player.”
  • Kelly had a possibly revealing answer to a question about whether Michael Vick is still a franchise quarterback. “I don’t know what the term `franchise’ is,” Kelly said. “I know he’s the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback. And if that’s a franchise, then the answer is yes.” According to league sources, the Eagles are indeed a franchise. Kelly was just being a smart-alec, but the guess here is he might have had a different answer about, oh, let’s say Tom Brady.
  • Trenton Robinsonand Keelan Johnson, wide receiver Greg Salas, linebacker Travis Long, offensive tackle Michael Bamiro and running back Matthew Tucker.

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