PHILADELPHIA -- Chip Kelly doesn’t like wasted time or effort. That applies whether he’s calling offensive plays or whittling his roster down.
The Philadelphia Eagles released 14 players Saturday, three days before the NFL deadline to cut rosters to 75 players. The cuts leave the Eagles with 76 players on their roster. They will have to trim one more before Tuesday.
“We just didn’t feel it was beneficial to the players to have them practice with us Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, then cut them in the afternoon on Tuesday,” Kelly said. “We’ll give them a chance – I don’t know if there is – to see if they can catch on with somebody else. It’s tough to bring somebody in Tuesday at 4 o’clock and bring them in and get them ready to play on Thursday. That’s just the approach we took with this group.”
The biggest name on the list was linebacker Jake Knott, who played in 12 games for the Eagles last season. Knott, who played mostly on special teams, was facing a four-game suspension to start the season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing drugs.
Defensive end Alejandro Villanueva, the former Army Ranger trying to resume his football career after stints in Afghanistan, was also released. So were defensive end Joe Kruger, offensive lineman Michael Bamiro and kicker Carey Spear.
The rest of the cuts: tight ends Emil Igwenagu and Blake Annen, offensive linemen Karim Barton and Donald Hawkins, wide receivers B.J. Cunningham and Kadron Boone, safeties Daytawion Lowe and Davon Morgan and defensive end Frances Mays.
None of the cuts were especially surprising. The deadline for cutting to the final 53-man roster is next Saturday. The Eagles will use their final preseason game to get a look at the players on the bubble. Kelly said his starters and some second-team players will not play against the New York Jets Thursday night.
Matt Barkley will start at quarterback against the Jets.