And Another One: Birds Sign Vet O-Lineman For Depth
An NFL-most 14 different offensive line combinations in 16 games is, at very least, one explanation for Carson Wentz’s downfall as Eagles quarterback in 2020 and for the team’s ranking as the league’s seventh-worst offense.
Howie Roseman, the man most responsible for rebuilding the roster, appears hell bent on making sure new quarterback Jalen Hurts doesn’t suffer from the same decimation up front.
Roseman, the team’s executive vice president of football operations, added more depth and experience to the offensive line Wednesday, signing free-agent lineman Le’Raven Clark. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo first reported the signing.
The 6-foot-5, 311-pound Clark enters his sixth season after being selected by the Colts in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Clark, 28, has experience in Eagles coach Nick Sirianni’s offense, having played for Sirianni, who was Colts offensive coordinator from 2018-2020.
Clark has started 15 of the 47 games he’s played in, and has played tackle and guard for the Colts. He didn’t play at all in 2019, but not because of injury, because the Colts’ starting offensive line mostly stayed intact.
Clark gives the Eagles more depth on the offensive line, an area the team has strengthened during the offseason. All-Pro right guard Brandon Brooks and All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson are expected return from season-ending injuries last season.
The Eagles used a second-round pick on Landon Dickerson, a guard-center from Alabama and will have competition at left tackle between Jordan Mailata and 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard.
Last year, the Eagles used a fourth-round pick on Jack Driscoll, who impressed the team enough to start the season opener at right tackle in Johnson’s place and then started three more games. Driscoll, Clark, Mailata, Dillard and fourth-year pro Matt Pryor, who’s roster spot is in major jeopardy, each have tackle experience, along with project Brett Toth, who made his NFL debut last year and played six games, starting one.
Roseman also recently re-signed offensive tackle Casey Tucker, originally an undrafted free agent signing by the Eagles after a rookie camp tryout. Tucker was waived by the Colts in April, right before the draft.
The door now appears open for Roseman to deal Dillard if he fails to beat out the 350-pound Mailata, who enters his fourth season after starting 10 games last year at left tackle. Brooks, who’s coming off his second Achilles surgery and turns 32 in August, could also be a trade candidate if the Eagles can withstand the massive cap hit they’d take by parting ways with him.
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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