After making the first wave of ten cuts on Saturday night, the Philadelphia Eagles were set to watch the rest of the roster until the 4 PM deadline on Monday, when they would have to make additional discharges to the tune of five players.
Instead, they decided to part ways with undrafted free agent cornerback Cliff Harris (h/t Eagletarian), a 2010 consensus All-American out of Oregon. Harris has played sparingly thus far this preseason, but made some noise against Cleveland in Week 3 by picking off Seneca Wallace for the team’s first interception of the 2012-2013 campaign.
As you can imagine after an abrupt, stunning move like this, the Twitter Gods found their way to criticize/laugh at/question Andy Reid and the Birds’ coaching staff.
Les Bowen hypothesizes that something may have happened between the earlier cuts and this morning:
Cliff Harris released abruptly, with no one else, the morning after a Saturday night. I know the team remained concerned about lifestyle…
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) August 26, 2012
Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly agrees, mentioning that the Eagles don’t necessarily benefit:
Had to be something up with Harris. Eagles didn’t need to make a move. You don’t just cut a 21-year-old All-America with a world of upside.
— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) August 26, 2012
Jeffrey Lurie and Andy Reid may be willing to part with information relevant to a Michael Vick injury, but the pair have never been ones to talk publicly about their in-house relations or even relations with their players, evidenced by the frustration shown by countless Eagles over the years—Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Westbrook and DeSean Jackson among them.
Harris does have a past filled with traffic-related offenses and possession of marijuana charges that had him dismissed from Chip Kelly’s squad last season, but when the Eagles let him into camp it appeared that they were willing to forgive the 21-year old as long as he promised to change his ways. Something that happened yesterday—or even over the past couple days—must have changed the team’s mind about keeping him on board, because he would’ve been a nice low-risk, high-reward option at cornerback behind the duo of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Reid and Co. usually like to keep six cornerbacks on the roster, and with Brandon Boykin, Asomugha and DRC locking up spots already, the other four guys fighting for the last three spots are definitely pleased that a talent like Harris is out of their way. Joselio Hanson is also likely to make the roster, so the final spots will likely come down to Trevard Lindley, Brandon Hughes and Curtis Marsh. Hughes and Marsh aren’t huge favorites, but their stocks definitely rose following this news.
With such a tight battle, don’t expect Reid to make his CB decision in his next wave of four cuts. He’ll wait until Friday when he has to set the 53-man regular season roster to make one of the tougher decisions of them all.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter: @KhandymanSports