Philadelphia Eagles: Jason Huntley can’t just be good enough

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

Theoretically, Jason Huntley’s spot on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster should be pretty safe heading into the 2022 NFL season.

The team didn’t add a rusher during free agency or the draft save Oklahoma UDFA Kennedy Brooks, and after watching Britain Covey suffer a finger injury against the New York Jets, he’s the odds-on favorite to be the team’s top on-roster return man come Week 1.

After spending the majority of the 2021 season on the practice squad, Huntley’s chances of making the 53-man roster are the best they’ve been in a training camp with the Eagles, and he may just finally find the security he’s been craving since being drafted and released by the Detroit Lions in 2020.

And yet, I wouldn’t go out and buy a number 32 Huntley jersey anytime soon or buy a replacement badge for the midnight green Rasul Douglas pinny collecting dust in the closet. Why? Because Huntley isn’t just competing with Brooks and Jalen Reagor for a spot on the team at RB and on special teams – he’s competing with every marginal player available via trade and every offensive player who hits the waiver wire before the season opens up.

Jason Huntley’s spot on the Philadelphia Eagles roster isn’t set in stone.

When the Eagles assembled their initial 53-man roster in 2020, Huntley wasn’t on it. No, for a matter of hours, Huntley had to wait and see where he would end up playing his rookie season, with the potential to become a free agent very much a possibility.

Fortunately, Huntley didn’t have to wait too long to find his new home, as Howie Roseman swooped in and claimed the remaining balance – aka the entire balance – of his four-year, rookie-scale contract.

Though Huntley didn’t play much as a rookie, returning just two kicks, receiving just two targets, and rushing the ball just five times, the fifth-round pick out of New Mexico stayed on the 53-man roster all season long because of his speed, his upside, and his ceiling.

In 2022, the Eagles may still keep a few “Jason Huntley types” on their 53-man roster and may even claim a player at a similar spot in their developmental timeline as Huntley was in 2020, but for the genuine article to make the 53-man roster once more, he actually needs to contribute either as a change of pace rusher – even if Huntley’s style is basically the same as the rest of the Eagles’ roster – and as a really good return man.

If Huntley can shine against the Browns and in the preseason finale against the Dolphins, then hey, maybe he’ll cement that roster spot once and for all. Maybe he’ll rip off a few long runs/returns, dice up Cleveland’s D, and secure that roster spot. But if he struggles, or is as ineffective in the rushing game as he was versus NYJ, then who knows, Roseman may find himself with wavering eyes.

Next. Anthony Harris is taking on a leadership role. dark

Ultimately, Jason Huntley’s future falls into his own hands. If he can put in the work, rip off a few runs, and truck through the trenches for an impressive yards-per-carry average, then he might just make the roster and be active for every single game he’s healthy for this fall. And if not? Well, the Philadelphia Eagles will likely look for someone who can.