The Eagles are paying guard Stacy Andrews' $4.1 million roster bonus and he will remain with the team, a source close to the situation said this afternoon. Last month, a source told the Daily News Andrews would have to restructure his six-year, $38.9 million contract to stay an Eagle; a source confirmed today that Andrews will make a $1.15 million base this season, instead of his original $2.95 million.
The Eagles announced this morning they have reached agreement with wideout Jason Avant on a five-year contract, which ESPN says is worth $18 million, $8 million guaranteed.
Avant, a restricted free agent, was tendered at the second-round level last week, so he was unlikely to leave, but the team seems to value his hustle, dedication and clutch play, and the new deal reflects that. There were indications last week that the Birds intended to pursue a deal with Avant, as they did with fullback Leonard Weaver, signed to a three-year contract on Friday.
At a news conference this afternoon, Avant thanked God, his wife, his late grandmother and "the Eagles organization for taking a chance on me" when his slow 40 times before the 2006 draft knocked him down a few rounds. Avant, unable to get into a proper sprint starting position because of a broken arm, was listed as "inj" for the scoutng combine 40 and clocked a 4.62 at his Michigan pro day. He told of being disappointed when the first day of the draft, and the first three rounds, passed without his named being called. Avant said he was bolstered by a call from then-Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, whom Avant had met through one of his brothers.
"He called me and said, ‘You just have to let this be fuel for you; to prove a lot of people wrong. That it's not about a 40 time, it’s about being a good football player.’ I’m just thankful to coach [Andy] Reid and those people that were there, [wide receivers coach David] Culley, and all those that helped draft me for looking past the 40 time and really focusing on what type of player I was. I owe a lot of people for it and I’m just thankful for that and I’m going to continue to try to make them proud.”
Not to pour salt in the (Julius) Peppers wound (hey, I could have written for Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin Sunday night), but the free agent defensive end gave an interview to The Charlotte Observer after signing with the Bears in which he identified the Eagles as his favorite team growing up and spoke of how neat it would have been to sign here, if he hadn't felt the urge to visit and sign in Chicago before even checking us out.
"I wanted to go there also, but when I came here, when I came to Chicago, this just felt right. It had a different feel to it. Obviously, I didn’t visit Philly to see what it felt like, but I didn’t need to," Peppers said.