The Philadelphia Eagles tried to add another wide receiver to the mix. Then the New York Jets undercut them on the waiver wire for the rights to last year’s “Prospect X.”
Matt Cole, an undrafted free agent in 2020, was picked up by the AFC East team on Thursday after both the Eagles and New Orleans Saints put in unsuccessful waiver claims for him. Remember, Jets general manager Joe Douglas used to work in the Philly front office and they had Cole rated high last year.
The 5-foot-10, 197-pounder originally signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2020 and spent time on their practice squad. The San Francisco 49ers stole him on Dec. 24 and threw the 24-year-old into a Week 17 game against the Seattle Seahawks where he recorded two special-teams tackles. Cole was waived by the 49ers back in May.
Teams will mine the waiver wire for offseason depth, as was the case with WR Matt Cole.
The former 49er was awarded to the Jets off of waivers yesterday, but the Eagles and Saints both attempted to claim the former DII standout at McKendree too.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 6, 2021
According to Sports Illustrated’s Kalyn Kahler, the Eagles showed a ton of interest in Cole prior to the 2020 draft as a possible sixth-round selection. Philadelphia took Southern Mississippi’s Quez Watkins in the sixth round (200th overall) over Cole despite an accomplished career at McKendree University. He appeared in 42 games (26 starts) and registered 93 receptions for 1,618 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“I know being an (NCAA) Division II guy I’m a little under the radar, but ready to take on this challenge,” Cole said after the Dolphins signed him in 2020. “There have been a lot of unsigned players who have been able to make it in the NFL. I am ready for this chance.”
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NFL, Eagles Release Offseason Schedule
Eagles veterans already opted out of voluntary spring workouts which began on April 19 when team facilities were officially opened. No big deal. The majority of NFL teams stood together in unity of what they considered unsafe working conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, a three-day rookie minicamp is slated to begin on May 14 and all nine Eagles draft picks are expected to be in attendance for that one. It will be followed up by a mandatory three-day minicamp for the entire roster starting on June 8. Here are the dates for the upcoming spring and summer sessions:
Rookie minicamp: May 14-16
Organized Team Activities (OTA) workouts:
May 25-27, June 2-4, June 14-17
Mandatory minicamp: June 8-10
Eagles Emphasized Drafting Team Captains
One thing that flew under the radar during last weekend’s NFL draft was how much stock the Eagles put in taking guys with tangible leadership qualities. Of the nine total picks they made, six of those players were dedicated team captains at their respective colleges: Landon Dickerson (Alabama), DeVonta Smith (Alabama), JaCoby Stevens (LSU), Tarron Jackson (Coastal Carolina), Zech McPhearson (Texas Tech), Patrick Johnson (Tulane).
“With this draft class here, the nine guys that we took, six of our nine picks are team captains. Six of the nine guys are at the Senior Bowl,” Eagles vice-president of player personnel Andy Weidl said. “Just the constant communication from when we were in Mobile daily talking about the players down there, who is performing well, interviews. You’ve got to stay on top of it.”
A heartfelt message from team captain, Landon Dickerson. https://t.co/YSJTdDBZ7D
— Touchdown Alabama (@TDAlabamaMag) December 21, 2020
Why? There’s only one good answer: the Eagles are trying to rebuild that selfless culture that helped earn them a Super Bowl trophy in 2017.