No sense opening Training Camp quietly: The Eagles announced on Wednesday as the veterans arrived at the NovaCare Complex that they have traded guard/tackle Allen Barbre and waived defensive end Marcus Smith, moves that express the team's confidence about the depth on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Barbre was traded to Denver for a 2019 conditional draft pick. Initially it was reported that the Eagles released him, but just prior to officially placing Barbre on waivers he was dealt to Denver.
That open competition for the starting left guard job? The field narrows down to Isaac Seumalo, who offensive coordinator Frank Reich said will begin as the starter when full-squad practices begin on Thursday, veteran do-it-all lineman Stefen Wisniewski, and free agent addition Chance Warmack, a starter at right guard during his NFL seasons in Tennessee but a starter at left guard in college at Alabama.
Seumalo is, from this perspective, a significant favorite to win the job. The Eagles selected Seumalo in the third round of the 2016 draft from Oregon State. As with all Pac-12 players, Seumalo missed most of the team's Organized Team Activities and practices as he waited for Oregon State's graduation. When Training Camp began, then, Seumalo was behind the curve.
But he caught up quickly and ended up playing in nine games, with four starts (two at right guard, one at left guard, and one at right tackle). Seumalo showed power, great footwork, and improving technique. Seumalo is a high-IQ player and adds a physical and athletic presence at the left guard position. The job is certainly not going to be handed to Seumalo and neither Wisniewski, the always-there veteran, nor Warmack, looking to resurrect his career, will go down without a battle in camp.
The release of Smith is not a surprise given the way the Eagles addressed the defensive end position in the offseason. Using a first-round draft pick to take Derek Barnett and adding veteran Chris Long to a group that includes Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Steven Means, and second-year man Alex McCalister gives the Eagles an extremely competitive and deep defensive end room. Smith, the first-round pick of the Eagles in 2014, started his career as a stand-up linebacker in the 3-4 front and then transitioned to a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end last season.
Smith chose not to attend much of the voluntary spring workouts, clearly understanding his place in the defensive end pecking order. Both Smith and Barbre will look for opportunities as camps get into full swing around the NFL.
The Eagles ended the early phase of camp on Wednesday with the rookies and selected veterans taking the reps and absorbing the team install part of the practice. Backup quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Dane Evans took the reps with both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles getting the day off.
All veterans reported later in the day for a late-afternoon meeting and the true start of Training Camp.
"It's a much different pace when the whole team is here," head coach Doug Pederson said. "Things move very fast."
, the converted tight end who is hoping his tremendous athletic ability translates into the skills to play tackle at this level.
Whether or not to keep 10 offensive linemen figures to be one of the team's most difficult decisions in the preseason, because the Eagles are chock-full of players who have NFL starting experience.
On the other side of the ball, the Eagles made sure to take care of questions about Smith's development with the busy offseason. No time was wasted making the moves.
So Training Camp is here, arriving more with a bang than a whimper. Significant subtractions were made. More moves are going to happen. The Eagles have a fluid situation with this roster, top to bottom, and every day offers a new chance to upgrade the 90-man assembly.