Saturday CSN Philly reported that Jason Avant had taken reps as a defensive back for the Eagles in some of Chip Kelly’s early practices. Normally, as CSN Philly’s Geoff Mosher says in this article, if a player gets practice at any other position other than the one they are signed to play at, it usually means that they don’t have much of a future with the team. But given how bad the Eagles secondary was last year, it’s possible Chip Kelly and Billy Davis just wanted to take a look at Avant on that side of the ball. And Avant isn’t looking at taking a few reps defensively as a sign that he will soon be getting his walking papers.
“I always say I never compare myself to other guys because those other guys, they’re not me,” Avant told reporters. “It’s one of those things that I work hard, I’m going to continue to work hard and whatever that may be, whatever the team wants to do with me, I’m going to do it as best as I can for the team, whatever that may be.
Jason Avant is a character guy who really does buy into the team above individual idea, but certainly he should be at the very least confused with his future on the Eagles. He is the number three receiver behind DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and is a possesion receiver Normally, a third receiver with the hands of Avant, would still play a big role on an NFL team. However in the spread offense that Chip Kelly plans to run, a tight-end fills the role of the third receiver, and the Eagles appear to be set at tight-end.
So Jason Avant not only needs to question how much of a role he will have in Kelly’s system, but does he even want to be here? He would have much more value to another team as their number two or three receiver because he will be lining up on way more plays. At age 30, if I’m Avant I think my best bet is asking for my outright release, so I can choose my next team. However, the Eagles likely wouldn’t agree to release Avant at this point, so Avant could try asking for a trade if he would like to enter training camp with his new team.
From the Eagles perspective of things, Avant certainly doesn’t appear to fit in Chip Kelly’s system. But neither did Matt Barkley. So I guess we can’t count anyone out of “fitting Chip’s system” until we truly see what Chip’s system is.
But my guess is that at some point in training camp, barring any injuries to DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles will either move Avant for a late round pick, or decide to give a career-long Eagle his outright release so that he has the right to choose his next team, rather than forcing him to go to one, and receiving minimal compensation.