Sunday, December 28, 2014

Justice signs four-year deal; Eagles sign cornerback Pope

Eagles offensive tackle Winston Justice signed a four-year contract extension today and the team also signed cornerback Geoffrey Pope off the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad.

Justice signs four-year deal; Eagles sign cornerback Pope

Eagles offensive tackle Winston Justice signed a four-year contract extension today and the team also signed cornerback Geoffrey Pope off the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad.

A league source told ESPN.com that the deal is worth $18.15 million, including a $6 million signing bonus.

To make room for Pope, the Eagles released cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu, the former fourth-round pick who played in his first NFL game Sunday at Chicago.

Justice was in the final year of his rookie contract and would have either been a restricted or unrestricted free agent, depending on what happens with the collective bargaining agreement.

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A four-year deal for Justice would have seemed unlikely at the beginning of training camp, but a season-ending back injury to Shawn Andrews thrust the former second-round pick into a starting role at right tackle and he has made the most of his situation.

"I've come a long way," Justice said. "My offensive line coach (Juan Castillo) always told me that hard work pays off and I took that mindset even when things looked bad. I think hard work does pay off and I think I worked pretty hard."

Pope, 6-foot and 186 pounds, started this season on the Bengals' active roster and appeared in four games, playing mostly on special teams. He was released by the Bengals Oct. 8, then signed to the Cincinnati practice squad the following day.

The Howard University product was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Miami in 2007, but was released by the Dolphins and spent the entire regular season that year on the New York Giants' practice squad. He was added to the Giants' roster for their four-game postseason run to the Super Bowl, then played in eight games last season with the Bengals.

"I was excited more than anything to get the opportunity," Pope said.

Pope believes he'll be able to pick the Eagles' defensive scheme up quickly because Steve Spagnuolo, the former Eagles assistant, was his defensive coordinator with the Giants. 

Eagles-Giants will remain a Sunday night game

In a move that should surprise no one, NBC has decided to keep the Eagles' Dec. 13 game against the New York Giants rather than switch to another game as is their right under the league's flexible scheduling format.

The game is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. at Giants Stadium. The only other games that possibly could have been more attractive were New Orleans at Atlanta, Cincinnati at Minnesota and San Diego at Dallas. Both CBS and Fox have the right to protect games.

With both the Eagles and Giants at 6-4 and in the middle of the NFC East and NFC wildcard races, it would have been foolish for NBC to turn its back on the New York and Philadelphia television markets.

This is the Eagles' fourth and final scheduled primetime game of the season. The remainder of their games are all scheduled for 1 p.m., but that, too, is subject to change.

 

About this blog
Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
Zach Berman Inquirer Staff Writer
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