The Philadelphia Eagles need to find a roster spot for Grayland Arnold.
Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles have been quite careless when it comes to their roster management this season, already losing two rookies via the waiver wire. UDFA tight end Noah Togiai was paid quite a bit to sign with the Eagles after the draft, and defensive end Casey Toohill was of course the team’s seventh-round pick.
Both now play for different NFL teams.
The Eagles have not prioritized making room for some of their younger players in recent weeks, routinely subjecting rookies to waivers in order to keep aging veterans like Alshon Jeffery and Vinny Curry on the active roster. For a team that is staring at a 1-4-1 start to their season, this doesn’t particularly seem to be the best way to approach things.
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One of the Philadelphia Eagles most exciting undrafted free agent signings this past offseason was that of former Baylor safety Grayland Arnold. The four-year DB was an absolute playmaker during his final year of collegiate ball, recording six(!) interceptions while playing a variety of different positions for the Baylor Bears’ defense. He took snaps at both safety and slot corner, proving to be a ballhawk when the football was thrown in his general direction.
Like the before mentioned Togiai, Roseman paid Arnold quite a bit of money in terms of signing bonus to join the Eagles this past summer, proving that they valued his services. Arnold had a decent enough training camp and was earning praise from a variety of different individuals, leading some to believe that he would crack the final 53-man roster.
Arnold didn’t make the official roster, and luckily snuck through waivers. He’s been a frequent practice squad call-up in recent weeks however, logging 43 total special teams snaps over the last three games. The versatile safety recorded his first career tackle on Sunday against the Steelers, and yet was released following the game as the Eagles tried to sneak him back to the practice squad (in light of Will Parks returning to action). Arnold once again very luckily snuck through waivers unclaimed, but the team is playing an extremely dangerous game when it comes to continuously jeopardizing Arnold’s future.
Unlike the wide receiver position, the Eagles don’t have a lot of depth at safety. In fact, one of the team’s worst overall players this season has been that of backup safety Marcus Epps. The second-year DB is allowing a passer rating of 102.7 when targeted, and he hasn’t made any sort of “splash” plays in the secondary.
Epps is a consistent liability on defense, and he didn’t look any better last year after joining the Eagles midway through the 2019 season (you might remember Epps as the guy who gave up the game-winning completion to DK Metcalf in the playoffs).
Cutting Epps to make room for a blossoming Arnold is about as easy of a decision as you will ever see in the NFL. It’s almost guaranteed that no-one will put a claim in on Epps, and the Eagles can stash him away on the practice squad if they really want to keep him around (or just outright cut him, that’s fine too).
12 games into his Philadelphia Eagles career and we simply know what Epps is, whereas Arnold still has a bright future ahead of him. As the team looks to gear up for a potential rebuild in the near future, getting a guy like Arnold more snaps on the main roster seems like a no-brainer, as opposed to continuously risking him on the waiver wire. Epps isn’t helping this team win football games currently, so losing him in the process isn’t something the team should be concerned about in the slightest either.