By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
While players like Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, Golden Tate and Jordan Matthews quickly signed deals with new teams, the Eagles had four potentially impact players waiting for the wave to come following the draft. That list included offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski, receiver Mike Wallace and running back Jay Ajayi. To a much lesser extent, guard Chance Warmack could be included in that group.
On Monday at 7 a.m., one of those players made a decision.
Veteran offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski became the first of those players to officially sign a contract for 2019. He will not be with a new team, however.
The Penn State product took to Twitter to announce his return to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Hey Philly...I’M BACK!— Stefen Wisniewski (@stefenwiz61) May 13, 2019
And I chose to sign in a tuxedo T-shirt because I wanted to be formal, but also I’m here to party...on Broad Street...in early February...for another SB parade...
Let’s GOOOOO!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/uUm7lmOhlq
A former Penn State lineman, Stefen Wisniewski was one of the most underrated signings in recent offseasons. With the ability to play at a high level at any of the three interior spots on the offensive line, Wiz provided a veteran leadership to assist with draftees like Big V and Isaac Seumalo on an affordable deal.
He originally signed with the team in the 2016 offseason and then signed an extension to stick with the team the following year. It proved to be a key move as Wiz filled replaced Seumalo in the middle of the 2017 season and immediately elevated the offensive line to an elite status and filled the gap for the best offensive line in the sport.
Wisniewski’s deal was not one that the Eagles needed to decline in order to make some cap room, but the team decided to give Wiz a chance to start elsewhere as the extension of Isaac Seumalo earlier this offseason means that he is the starting left guard and Wisniewski would likely be relegated to a backup role.
Wisniewski’s release was a bit late and he was unable to find a team that he both liked and would give him a chance to start, so he returned to a locker room he loves.
There has been no word yet on a corresponding move, but if OL Ryan Bates or WR Deandre Thompkins are not released to make room on the roster, Wisniewski will become the fifth player from Penn State under contract with the Eagles.
Eagles starting right guard Brandon Brooks could miss time at the start of the season and the team would need to start Matt Pryor, who has yet to play a snap in the NFL, at one of the guard positions should Brooks miss time. Their only other options would be to move a tackle who has never played guard or an undrafted free agent starting right out of the gates. Wisniewski provides depth at the guard and center positions and is likely ahead of Pryor on the depth chart.
Brandon Brooks was more than happy to hear about the return of his teammate who may start in his stead at the beginning of the season.
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) May 13, 2019
The move makes it even more difficult for Big V or Ryan Bates, who both seemed to have at least a decent chance at a roster spot, to make the 53-man roster out of training camp.
UPDATE: The corresponding move is the release of running back Nico Evans.
Evans can remain with the team for rookie training camp, but will need to impress to earn a spot back on the 90-man roster for the rest of training camp.
The #Eagles have waived QB Luis Perez and RB Nico Evans.— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) May 13, 2019
Those are the two roster spots for Stef Wisniewski and Cody Kessler.