Philadelphia Eagles: Has Steven Means earned in a new contract?

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After two years with the Philadelphia Eagles, it looks like DE Steven Means days are numbered. But has he done enough to earn a new deal elsewhere?

Unlike at wide receiver, linebacker, offensive line, and running back, there is no competition for a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles‘ defensive line.

No, at this point the rotation is all but set.

As easily the deepest position group on the entire team, Jim Schwartz has a lot of firepower to play with on his defensive line, especially at the end position, where he has four players, Brandon Graham, Chris Long, Michael Bennett, and Derek Barnett who could easily start for probably 90 percent of the teams in the NFL.

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And that’s not even counting the team’s absurdly high upside 2018 fourth-round pick Josh Sweat, the former Florida State Seminole who, at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds blew up the combine with a blazing fast 4.53 40 yard dash.

NFC East quarterbacks, consider yourself on notice.

However, one player who probably wishes there was an open competition for a spot at defensive end has to be sixth-year stalwart, Steven Means.

Means, who’s been with the team since December 15th, 2015, is one of those bottom-of-the-roster-type players who fans often forget is still on a team, but performs well enough to hang on to a roster spot year after years.

Though he’s only appeared in 14 games so far in an Eagles uniform, recording five tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble, Means has largely remained steadily employed because of his versatility.

Versatility is why Means is a Super Bowl champion.

A defensive end in the vein of former teammate Vinny Curry, Mean has proven himself to be an effective inside-out rusher who can effectively hold his own against all five offensive lineman one-on-one.

As a player who could conceivably serve as a solid rotational player in a less stacked rotation, you kind of have to feel sorry for the unlucky hand Means has been dealt thus far in his career.

A trend that has continued throughout the 2018 preseason.

Currently tied for the second most sacks on the team behind $100 million man Fletcher Cox with about half a dozen other players, Means will likely log his final start in midnight green in the team’s final preseason bout against the New York Jets, where he will likely line up across from Sweat, the very player who will likely finally take his spot.

But has Means done enough to earn another NFL contract, even if it’s not with the Eagles?

I’d like to think so.

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While his sample size is relatively small, having only logged 89 snaps over his two-plus years with the team, Means has shown some potential in limited action, and at 27, he still has plenty of tread left on his tires.

He just needs an opportunity to showcase it.

Will he ever become an unguardable force like his former Buffalo teammate Khalil Mack? No, but could he be a team’s fourth end in a rotation? Sure.

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With every 4-3 team looking to take a page out of Schwartz’s book in formulation a lethal, Super Bowl-caliber defensive end rotation, don’t be shocked in Means has a new job this time next year if the Philadelphia Eagles decide to move on this Saturday.