According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, six former Ducks will be available for contracts in free agency – FB Will Tukuafu, TE Dante Rosario, TE Ed Dickson, OL Adam Snyder, LB Spencer Paysinger, and CB Walter Thurmond III.
— Doug (@dougclose) March 6, 2015
The Oregon Ducks/Philadelphia Eagles connection continues to grow stronger under Eagles HC Chip Kelly after trading star running back LeSean McCoy in exchange for Buffalo Bills linebacker and PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year Kiko Alonso. Alonso, the former Oregon linebacker who played under Kelly, will become the ninth former Duck to join the Eagles organization once the deal is completed.
The move is just one in a series of Kelly’s recent calculated roster changes, in an effort to free up as much cap space as possible. His doing this, while looking toward the free agency markets is creating a real possibility of even more Ducks moving from Track Town USA to the City of Brotherly Love.
The Eagles acquisition of Alonso coupled with the latest cuts of James Casey, Todd Herremans, Cary Williams and Trent Cole created a fiscal stockpile estimated between $30-40 million. The increased salary space is also a piece of a much larger picture that several sources surrounding the Eagles’ administration believe involves drafting Marcus Mariota in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft.
The Eagles currently have the 20th pick in the first round of the draft, and would need to make some significant sacrifices in order to snag the St. Louis High School superstar and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner.
According to Jimmy Kempski of Phillyvoice.com, one working theory is that Kelly will offset the loss of numerous current and future first round draft picks to grab Mariota by filling roster needs with young or disenfranchised players released by other teams.
When all is said and done, Oregonians could very well have their first de facto satellite NFL team. All we need now are some cheap flights to Philly.
Top photo by Kevin Cline