Jamaal Is Staying; Cuts Are In

Jamaal Jackson may have lost his starting spot, but he is staying with the Eagles. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles are keeping center Jamaal Jackson as a backup. Two other veterans who might have been in danger of getting cut, DE Juqua Parker and RT Winston Justice, agreed to restructure their contracts to stay, a source close to the situation said. Apparently, if Parker and Justice remain backups, they will take a pay cut, but if they end up starting again, and are productive, they can make their full original salaries.

Here is the complete list of Saturday's cuts: S Jamar Adams, RB Eldra Buckley, WR Chad Hall, CB Joselio Hanson, DT Anthony Hargrove, WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, T Austin Howard, S Marlin Jackson, DT Derek Landri, TE Donald Lee, LB Greg Lloyd, C/G Mike McGlynn, WR Sinorice Moss, DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, T Fenuki Tupou and T Reggie Wells.

As expected, DE Brandon Graham starts the season on the physically unable to perform list, where he must stay for six weeks. Justice has been activated from PUP. Ryan Harris, the early favorite to start at right tackle, was released with an injury settlement after back surgery.

Surprises, there were a few. Very few observers would have placed undrafted rookie DT Cedric Thornton ahead of veteran Landri during the preseason. Thornton was good; Landri, who started every game for Carolina last season, was excellent. But they were competing for the fifth DT spot, a guy who probably isn't going to be active on Sunday if the other four are healthy. Thornton might gain from a developmental year, and he is under contract for three years. Landri, a vested veteran, was on a one-year deal that would become fully guaranteed if he were on the Week 1 roster. Stashing him as an inactive for a year wouldn't help Landri or the Eagles very much in the long run.

Also, after Week 1, vets can be signed to nonguaranteed deals. Could Thornton then go to the practice squad and Landri return to the roster, if no one signs him? Absolutely.

"You try to kind of balance having the best team right now, which is obviously our goal, and at the same time being strong going forward," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told a conference call with reporters.

Although your Eagletarian's roster projections were wrong in many particulars, he was right about one thing -- the Birds kept six corners and five safeties. Hanson ended up being released, not traded; the Eagles could have gotten a little something for him earlier in the preseason, but as it became apparent he would have to be cut, offers dried up.

 Roseman alluded to rookie RB Dion Lewis as the kickoff returner, and said there were experienced punt returners on the roster, even after Moss and Hall were released. (Hall has practice squad eligibility.)

The current roster -- which very likely will change as the Eagles examine the 1,100-plus cuts across the league -- contains 11 rookies, not including DE Phillip Hunt, a CFL vet who counts as a "first-year player." They have just five wide receivers, which means if they don't add anyone, Steve Smith should be active Week 1 in St. Louis.

Roseman lauded Hunt's strong camp and preseason, and pointed to Hunt when asked about the release of 2010 third-round pick Te'o-Nesheim (who retains practice squad eligibility, by the way.)

"This is a guy that every game he played was making a difference rushing the passer," Roseman said of Hunt. "It's no slight on Te'o, but more of, really, the camp that Phillip Hunt had."

Despite the new kickoff rule, the Birds kept at least two veteran special teams stalwarts, LB Akeem Jordan and S Colt Anderson.

Parker, 33, is the oldest Eagle. Lewis, who doesn't turn 21 until Sept. 27, is the youngest.

The Eagles can form their 8-member practice squad tomorrow.