There was a time in the not-too-distant past when players like Corey Clement, Genard Avery, and Cre’von LeBlanc were fixtures of the Philadelphia Eagles. They played meaningful snaps in playoff games, made plays when their team needed them, and combined to start 18 games since 2017.
What else do these three players all have in common? Well, they were all waived by their current teams, the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Las Vegas Raiders, respectively, the former two heading to free agency and LeBlanc expected to revert back to Vegas’ injured reserve list.
Surprising? In some cases, yes, in others, no.
A few ex-Philadelphia Eagles will see their NFL dreams dashed.
Baltimore has a pretty stacked running backs corps, even after sending Gus Edwards to the PUP list. They added Tyler Badie in the draft, Mike Davis in free agency, and after losing 2020 second-round pick J.K. Dobbins for the year with a torn ACL, his return is a pretty big deal for the Ravens too. While Clements’ experience on special teams gave him a shot to make the team, he was a long shot at best and a camp body at worst – which ultimately proved to be the case.
Avery’s prospects of making the Steelers felt far more likely, with Pittsburgh signing the Browns’ draftee very early in the free agency process and handing him a $152k signing bonus to secure his services, which isn’t a lot, but isn’t nothing either. Still, Pittsburgh must have felt confident enough in their depth to allow Avery to hit the open market, or have faith that they could ultimately replace him with a free agent if need be.
And as for LeBlanc? Well, his story is a bit more tragic. While he likely wasn’t going to start for the Raiders this fall, as Nate Hobbs is a darn good corner who ranked first among interior performers in defensive grade according to PFF, he at least latched on with another team after a rocky 2021 and looked like a viable depth piece. Fortunately, LeBlanc will remain in Las Vegas and will be afforded a chance to learn the scheme for a 2023 run at the roster barring an injury settlement, but that’s a rather bittersweet consolation price for a corner looking to find a new long-term home.
Now granted, Clement, Avery, and LeBlanc weren’t the only ex-Eagles to be looking for new homes as the summer winds down. Elijah Riley was released from the New York Jets, as was De’Vante Bausby from the Washington Commanders, and Travis Fulgham is already on his second team of the summer, having been released from the Denver Broncos before being scooped up by the Green Bay Packers. Factor in the players Philly has already released, most notably Jimmy Moreland, and there are a lot of former Eagles who will have to take the hard way to the field this fall.
Watching teams whittle their rosters down from 90 to 53 is always one of the more bittersweet aspects of the football season. Sure, it’s fun to see how the roster shakes out, to see darkhorse players make the team, and wonder if any trades will be made to fill out the roster, but it’s also a time when hundreds of players become former players and maybe never again get to chase their dreams. Even with the practice squad potentially saving more than a few of these players moving forward, the end of summer will be a bummer for more than a few former Eagles.