PHILADELPHIA - Turns out the hand-wringing was just that.
Only 27 players league-wide were claimed off waivers Wednesday, a day after the initial cut to 53, and the Eagles were not awarded any of them. That's the bad news, at least to some fans who were expecting upgrades.
The good news is that many of the players those same fans feared losing on waivers were all available to the Eagles when they started assembling their 16-man practice squad.
The team brought 15 players back, most notably receivers Travis Fulgham and John Hightower, as well as cornerback Craig James, players who seemed to have a realistic shot of being on the original 53.
Also brought back were DB Grayland Arnold, OL Kayode Awosika, OT Le'Raven Clark, RB Jordan Howard, RB Jason Huntley, CB Mike Jacquet, OG Sua Opeta, OL Ross Pierschbacher, S Elijah Riley, LB JaCoby Stevens, and DT Raequan Williams.
DE Matt Leo was also brought back as part of the league's International Pathway Program, a designation that increases the Eagles' PS from 16 to 17.
The Eagles still have two slots to fill with one of them set to of to undrafted former Florida State DT Marvin Wilson, who spent the spring and summer with the Cleveland Browns.
Fulgham was one of the best WRs in the NFL for a five-week span in 2020 before dropping off and eventually being benched. He started the summer as a potential starter in 11 personnel but had a poor training camp and less-than auspicious preseason, ultimately losing out to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for the final WR spot on the 53-man roster.
"I think the first thing is with Travis, here's a guy who obviously had a heck of a stretch for us last year. And we looked at it that this was a new year and this was a new beginning, and we wanted to go based on what we saw and take the whole process into play," GM Howie Roseman said on Tuesday.
Roseman also noted the Eagles' overall philosophy was building to 70, the 53-man roster, the 16-man PS, and the IPP exemption for Leo.
"We don't look at it just as who we're keeping on the 53. We look at it as who we're keeping on the 70," said Roseman. "So, we try to figure out to the best that we can. ... We've always been like this here, and one of the things we talked about a lot when we were interviewing Coach [Sirianni] and really throughout this whole process being together is how we want this to look."
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.