Philadelphia Eagles: Goodbye Jimmy Moreland, hello Ugo Amadi

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Philadelphia Eagles signed Jimmy Moreland, it felt like a pretty big deal.

Sure, he barely played for the Houston Texans in 2021, as the former Washington draftee was on the field for just eight defensive snaps over seven games after being claimed off of waiver in September of 2021, but still, Moreland was just a season removed from playing nearly 600 defensive snaps for Ron Rivera and could theoretically fill a solid role in the secondary moving forward.

Unfortunately, Moreland’s troubles followed him from Jalen Hurts’ hometown to their shared adoptive digs, as the former seventh-round pick out of James Madison lasted just three months in midnight green before being waived with an injury as part of the trim down to 85 players. Moreland didn’t make much of an impact in camp, suffered an ankle injury that robbed him of a few practices, and ultimately failed to appear in the Birds’ preseason opener for that very same reason.

Had Moreland stayed healthy, who knows, maybe he would have showed out as Avonte Maddox’s primary reserve versus the New York Jets instead of Andre Chachere, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be; Moreland has been released as the Eagles trim their roster down from 90 to 85 players, and unless some other team really likes his services, it might be tough to find a new home unless he gets real healthy real quick.

Fortunately for the Philadelphia Eagles, they may have seen this outcome coming as they decided to trade JJ Arcega-Whiteside, the fourth-year wide receiver-turned-tight end, to the Seattle Seahawks for Ugo Amadi, another defensive back from the 2019 NFL Draft class who also has quite a bit of experience logging snaps in the slot.

Ugo Amadi’s arrival is more important than ever for the Philadelphia Eagles.

2020 Jimmy Moreland and 2021 Uga Amadi have a lot in common; they both played roughly half of their team’s defensive snaps for two straight seasons, both averaged roughly three tackles per game, and both started roughly a third of their team’s games. The duo also have the unfortunate designation of being below-average performers according to PFF, with Moreland’s high-water mark coming in 2019 with a 56.7 defensive grade, and Amadi’s coming in 2020, where he recorded a 65.6 grade.

Now granted, Amadi’s 2021 season had the worst defensive grade of either performer at a 43.7, which, considering he played a career-high 691 defensive snaps, isn’t ideal, but with Avonte Maddox one of the top slot cornerbacks in the entire NFL, Josiah Scott a solid slot man in his own right who could be a fixture of defensive subpackages, and Jonathan Gannon’s general aversion for playing traditional dime defense, there’s little reason to imagine the former fourth-round pick out of Oregon playing that big of a role in 2022.

If anything, Amadi’s special teams experience, when coupled with his experience playing all over the defensive secondary, could make him an ideal bottom-of-the-roster reserve for a team looking to maximize their optionality.

Next. Reid Sinnett stakes his claim against the Jets. dark

Cornerback is one of those positions that can vary greatly from one team to another. Patrick Robinson was released by the Indianapolis Colts 11 months before he won the Super Bowl, and his game back in New Orleans, though solid, never quite lived up to his 2017 mastery over the remainder of his NFL career. Could a similar change of scenery be just what the doctor ordered for Uga Amadi? Only time will tell, but needless to say, with Jimmy Moreland gone, his path to making the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster just got a little bit easier moving forward.