Eagles Sign Former Canadian Rugby Star Adam Zaruba to Play TE

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The Eagles signed Canadian rugby star Adam Zaruba to a three-year contract Monday, bringing him in to play tight end, Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Zaruba, 26, is 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds. He joins a tight end group that includes Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Brent Celek, Anthony Denham, and undrafted rookie Billy Brown.

Zaruba worked out for the Eagles on Sunday and takes the roster spot previously held by cornerback Dwayne Gratz. He cannot join the team until he’s granted a visa.

Eagles LB Jordan Hicks Limited to Start Camp with Broken Bone in Hand

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Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed on Monday that middle linebacker Jordan Hicks broke a bone in his hand while on his honeymoon earlier this summer, an injury that required a “minor procedure.” Hicks will be limited to start training camp, Tim McManus of ESPN.com reports.

“He’s a veteran player, understands his role, I’m not going to rush him out there and try to reinjure that thing,” said Pederson, who stated that he doesn’t expect his linebacker to miss any time.

Hicks’ injury reportedly occurred while getting out of a pool during his honeymoon in Greece in late June.

Hicks missed half of his rookie season in 2015 with a torn pectoral muscle. He also dealt with significant injuries at the University of Texas, including a torn Achilles, a hip flexor and a fractured foot.

Hicks, 25, was able to play all 16 games last season and established himself as a foundational piece of the Eagles defense. He had 85 tackles, five interceptions, a sack and 11 passes defenses while manning the middle for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. His five interceptions led the team and were the most among NFL linebackers. He now has seven picks in 24 professional games.

Eagles LB Nigel Bradham Accepts a Deferred Prosecution Deal

Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham has accepted a deferred prosecution program in relation to his felony battery charge from last summer, court documents show, which diverts the case out of the courts and could result in no jail time if the conditions of the program are met, Tim McManus of ESPN.com reports.

Bradham was arrested just before training camp last July following an incident at the Hilton Bentley Miami in trendy South Beach. He was accused of striking a hotel employee and breaking his nose.

Bradham was charged with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony. The trial date has been delayed multiple times. The most recent was scheduled for this week.

SI Grades the Eagles in Their NFC East Off-Season Report Card

Sports Illustrated has released their grades for the offseason to this point, including of course the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East.

Here’s some of what the site had to say about the Eagles to this point in the offseason.

On defense, the personnel has been shuffled, starting up front. Sturdy veteran Connor Barwin was released. In his stead is Chris Long, another sturdy veteran who can set the edge against the run, and first-round pick Derek Barnett, who figures to at first be a pass-rushing specialist behind Long.

At nosetackle, Bennie Logan signed with Kansas City; in his spot (sort of) is ex-Raven Timmy Jernigan. We say “sort of” because Logan was a gap-clogger who could dominate with strong east/west movement. Jernigan is more of a north/south gap-shooter. His best position is three-technique (i.e. between the guard and tackle). He and Fletcher Cox can each line up at a three-tech spot on third downs, but on first and second down, one of those two will have to align tighter inside, between the guard and center (i.e. at “nose shade”). Cox might be the best all-around three-tech in football; the guess here is Jernigan will play the nose. But can he?

Changes abound in the secondary, too. Starting corners Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin were allowed to walk in free agency. (Both could be effective at times, but neither was effective all the time. McKelvin could be especially up and down.) Journeyman Patrick Robinson was signed in free agency, but the real additions were second-round pick Sidney Jones and third-round pick Rasul Douglas. They’ll be counted on to start in nickel in 2018. For Douglas, it could even be sooner. For Jones, it will be whenever his torn Achilles is healed.

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz believes in straightforward, fundamentally sound football. That is to say, he doesn’t riddle his scheme in complexities. Theoretically, this should make it easier for newcomers to contribute right away.

Grade: B-

You can read the rest of what SI has to say about the Eagles, as well as the NFC East by clicking HERE

Eagles Hope Adding Big Back Blount Will Add Punch to the Run Game in 2017

The Eagles made a move on Monday they think will bring a big boost to their run game on Wednesday, as the team agreed to a one-year deal with former New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.

Last season Blount led the NFL with 18 scored touchdowns, but when it counted the most he kind of vanished into thin air, as during the Super Bowl he was an afterthought during the Patriots record setting comeback.

The Eagles and Blount will open the NFL season in 2017 against the rival Washington Redskins, and don’t forget you can get the latest football matches at William Hill, including all the Eagles games for the upcoming season.

Back to Blount, the Eagles seem to want to see what they can get out of the Pats running back, as they only inked him to a one-year deal, showing that even today over 1000 yards and 18 touchdowns is not worth much in today’s NFL.

The 30-year-old Blount is the latest veteran playmaker the Eagles have added in free agency. They also signed wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, showing they want to give more weapons to second-year quarterback Carson Wentz.

If there was one area on the Eagles last season that could use some work, it was grinding out big yards in big games, and here’s hoping that adding Blount will be able to do that.

He’s always been a back that’s been known for getting the tough yards when it counts the most, and the Eagles haven’t had a physical running back like that in quite a long time.

It is hard to believe, but Blount joins his fourth team in eight seasons. He began his career in Tampa Bay and also played briefly with Pittsburgh in between two stints with the Patriots – last season it paying off with his second Super Bowl ring with New England.

In 2016 the Eagles were not a running team that was known for being able to get the job done when it was needed. They had Darren Sproles, but he’s not exactly known as a back that will get you very many 100-yard games.

Then there’s Ryan Mathews, who ran for 661 yards last season with eight touchdowns, a player the team has been waiting to break out, but again, one that is not going to make many other teams cringe when it comes to thinking about intimidating running backs.

Give Blount the ball a lot in preseason, get him use to the Eagles offense, and let’s see what he can do in 2017. For the Eagles, he might be the best option they have in running the football.

Eagles and Free Agent RB LeGarrette Blount Agree to One-Year Deal

The Eagles have come to terms with free agent running back LeGarrette Blount, it’s a one-year deal for the former Patriots running back.

Last season with the Super Bowl Champion Patriots Blount for 1161 yards and an NFL high 18 touchdowns. He played in all 16 games and three postseason games and stated eight games for New England.

In his career he’s appeared in 100 regular season games with 49 rushing touchdowns.

Eagles Coach Pederson Not Concerned About DE Brandon Graham Not Being at Offseason Program

Following the lead of Eagles top football executive Howie Roseman a day earlier, coach Doug Pederson on Friday said he too is not terribly concerned about the departure of defensive end Brandon Graham from the team’s voluntary offseason program, Nick Fierro of the Allentown Morning Call reports.

Speaking before the opening practice of rookie camp, Pederson gave no indication of any dissatisfaction.

“I love Brandon,” Pederson said, “and obviously he and I have a great relationship. He’s been here. As you guys know, this is a voluntary offseason program, so a lot of this is out of my hands. But he’s a guy that’s valuable to the football team and I’m not worried about him at all.”

Pederson is not sure if Graham will return for Organized Team Activities (OTAs), which begin on May 23.

“He and I have had conversations as I do with a lot of the players,” Pederson said. “Again, the expectation is would I like him here? Yeah. Voluntary? I got it. And that’s the hardest part as a coach is when you’re working on that type of schedule. It’s hard. But at the same time, he’s a guy that’s a veteran player, understands his role, understands his assignment, and [we] expect big things from him this season.”

Eagles DE Brandon Graham to Reportedly Hold Out For a New Deal

Defensive end Brandon Graham has stopped attending Eagles workouts and is expected to skip organized team activities later this month – and also possibly mandatory minicamp in June – until the Eagles renegotiate his contract, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Graham signed a four-year, $26 million contract in 2015 and is slated to earn $6.5 million in each of the last two years of the deal. He was the Eagles’ most productive defensive end last season, and his base salary for 2016 is $500,000 less than defensive end Vinny Curry, who inked a five-year, $46.25 million contract last offseason.

Graham, 29, is the 28th-highest-paid edge rusher in the NFL, on a per-year scale. Curry, who didn’t start last season despite his blockbuster deal, is 13th highest.

Graham, reached via text message Wednesday, declined to address his potential holdout.

“Can’t talk about contract stuff right now,” Graham said.

The Eagles had no comment. Graham would be fined each day he missed minicamp, which is scheduled for June 13-15. OTAs will begin on May 23 and run for three weeks.