Top Eagles storylines heading into 2024 mandatory minicamp

Top Eagles storylines heading into 2024 mandatory minicamp originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles have completed the voluntary portion of their offseason program and will kick off their three-day mandatory minicamp on Tuesday.

This minicamp, which runs through Thursday, will be the first mandatory minicamp in Nick Sirianni’s four-year run as head coach of the Eagles.

After a collapse to end the 2023 season and two new coordinators, it’s probably a good idea to have one this year.

A recent report surfaced that the NFLPA is going to submit a proposal to change the NFL offseason and basically eliminate the spring workouts to tack on a ramp-up period before training camp. So these minicamps might not be around for much longer.

But there’s at least this one. Here are some storylines heading into the week:

It’s mandatory now

This three-day minicamp is the only mandatory portion of the entire offseason. All six OTAs and every other workout and meeting before today has been voluntary. So the veterans who weren’t at all the OTAs — guys like Lane Johnson, DeVonta Smith and James Bradberry — are required to be at minicamp unless they are excused by the team.

The Eagles enter this minicamp without any major contract worries hanging over their heads so there aren’t any potential holdouts to watch on that front. But if a player decides to skip any of these practices, per the CBA, they can be fined by the team:

1st missed day: $15,515
2nd missed day: $31,030
3rd missed day: $46,540

The maximum amount a player can be fined for missing all three days of a mandatory minicamp is $93,085.

What happens with James Bradberry?

Howie Roseman at the Combine said Bradberry was in the Eagles’ plans but that’s a little hard to believe. The 30-year-old cornerback had an awful season in 2023 and then the Eagles drafted two cornerbacks in the top 40 picks in April. Even though Bradberry has two years left on his contract, it’s probably time to move on.

While Bradberry wasn’t a complete no-show this spring, he was not at the two OTA practices open to reporters over the last two weeks. So we’ll see if he’s at this mandatory camp.

With Bradberry, it’s important to look at the calendar. Since it’s now past June 1, there’s an easier path to trade or release him from a salary cap perspective. Basically, the dead cap charges can now be spread out of this year and next. If a move happens, Bradberry will count $4.3 million against the Eagles’ cap in 2024 and around $10.8 million next season.

A look at the depth chart

We’ll be keeping a close eye this week on the first, second and third teams on both sides of the ball.

On offense, it seems like the right guard job is Tyler Steen’s to lose but it was notable in OTAs that Matt Hennessy was the second-team right guard. The Eagles also signed veteran guard Max Scharping on Monday so we’ll see where they put him on Day 1. Johnson will be back at right tackle so we’ll see if Mekhi Becton stays on the right side of the line with the second team. He was the top RT during OTAs but has played mostly on the left side of the line during his NFL career. And with Smith back at WR, we know he and A.J. Brown will be the top receivers. We’ll see if one guys works as the third receiver or if the Eagles mix and match.

On defense, Isaiah Rodgers had been working with the first team but maybe that changes in mandatory camp. Some of this hinges on the Bradberry situation but the Eagles have Kelee Ringo and they just drafted Quinyon Mitchell. While it still seems likely Mitchell, the first-round pick, will work his way up to the first team, that hasn’t happened yet. Second-round pick Cooper DeJean was working in the slot and outside CB the last couple of weeks so we’ll see if that continues. At linebacker, Devin White and Zack Baun were the top two linebackers in the first OTA open to reporters but Nakobe Dean (nearly fully healthy) rotated in last week. Hopefully, the Eagles’ plan at the position will crystalize a little more this week.

Does a WR3 emerge?

The Eagles have Brown and Smith as their top two receivers but the WR3 position is still up in the air, especially after DeVante Parker decided to retire this spring.

The top candidates on the roster to take this spot are Parris Campbell, Joseph Ngata and rookies Ainias Smith and Johnny Wilson. Campbell is likely to be the guy at this spot during minicamp but given his career path and injury history, it might not be wise for the Eagles to put all of their eggs into that basket. This seems like a spot the Eagles could still look to upgrade this summer, especially if no one really takes hold of this spot.

It might seem strange to call receiver a position of need for the Eagles given the talent at the top with Brown and Smith, but that third receiver is going to play quite a bit in 2024. Even if the Eagles want to be a heavier 12 personnel team, they’re still going to mostly live in 11 personnel with three wideouts on the field. Last season, they never really had a guy — Quez Watkins, Julio Jones or Olamide Zaccheas — step up and take ownership of that role. We’ll have to see if they find that player in 2024.

Will the offense catch up?

During the final OTA practice reporters got to watch, the defense had a good day. There were several interceptions and Jalen Hurts, Kenny Pickett and the entire offense just didn’t really get going. Of course, that’s nothing to panic about in May. But Sirianni loves competition and I expect to see it heat up a little bit during these three days.

These aren’t fully padded practices but we’ll get to see some 7-on-7s and even 11-on-11s over the next three days. Reporters are allowed to watch all three practices in their entirety so there will be plenty of observations to follow.

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