By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
The Eagles made a series of roster moves on Tuesday to shape the team that they will take to New York this weekend.
With a shot at the playoffs, the Eagles are in a bit of a sticky situations with injuries.
The Eagles headed into their last handful of games with just three receivers, but that will change this week.
Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports the team made four separate moves.
#Eagles made a few moves:— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) December 24, 2019
- Signed TE Richard Rodgers
- Put Ronald Darby on IR
- Waived RB Jay Ajayi
- Promoted WR Deontay Burnett
The Eagles did as was reported yesterday, and released running back Jay Ajayi with the impending return of Jordan Howard.
That gave the Eagles three running backs and an open roster spot.
The team also placed starting cornerback Ronald Darby on injured reserve.
Darby has shown stretches of greatness when he is healthy, but popped up on the injury report a few weeks ago. Following that, he struggled far more in the Eagles games.
Darby suffered a hip injury early in the Eagles win over the Cowboys last Sunday and was removed from the game shortly after giving up a huge reception that went for over 40 yards. He went to the locker room and never returned.
His injury was significant and the coaches said he would miss time with it, but the Eagles are in a situation where there is a maximum of six weeks left in the season and to get to that point, they would have to win four straight games and continue to advance in the playoffs.
Because of this, the Eagles felt like it would be more productive to add a player to the roster to contribute now rather than leave an injured player on the roster and hope he heals enough to contribute at some point.
Update: Ian Rappoport of the NFL Network has confirmed that the injury would have kept Darby out for three weeks, meaning that his first possible action would have been in the NFC Championship game if the Eagles were to make it that far without him.
#Eagles CB Ronald Darby suffered a grade 2 hip flexor strain that should have him fine and ready in about 4 weeks, source said. No surgery. So, just a timing issue more than anything to place him on Injured Reserve.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 24, 2019
It is a move that officially ends Darby's season and potentially his career with the Eagles as he is a free agent at season's end.
That gave the Eagles two open roster spots to fill.
With their recent lack of receiver depth and JJ Arcega-Whiteside missing time in the last two games with a foot injury, the Eagles decided it was about time they add another receiver.
They chose to promote Deontay Burnett from their practice squad.
Burnett, a USC product, was an undrafted free agent in 2018.
He has spent time with the Titans, Jets and 49ers.
In 2018, he had 10 catches for 143 yards on 15 targets.
He was on the 49ers practice squad for most of this season prior to his release on December 10th and signed with the Eagles practice squad just two days later following Alshon Jeffery's placement on injured reserve.
With their final roster spot, the Eagles chose to add a tight end, presumably due to Zach Ertz's fractured rib.
The tight end was familiar face Richard Rodgers, who will be in his third stint with the team.
Rodgers originally signed with the Eagles in the 2018 offseason, but suffered and injury early on and was placed on injured reserve. He returned to the active roster when teammate Josh Perkins took his own stint on IR, but wasn't used much by the team.
Rodgers then re-signed with the Eagles on a two-year deal this offseason, but ended up suffering an injury in training camp and was waived in September with an injury settlement.
He brings a veteran who is familiar with the team's playbook to help the team out, especially if the Eagles choose to rest Zach Ertz.
Additionally, Rodgers is a far superior blocking tight end than Josh Perkins. This could allow the team to move Perkins into more of a receiver role while giving Rodgers the snaps that Perkins was struggling to block on in the team's match-up with the Cowboys last Sunday.