The Eagles abruptly dumped linebacker/defensive end Marcus Smith, a 2014 first-round draft pick, earlier this week. On Friday, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz explained the decision to move on.
“I think the biggest thing in not working out, as far as this year, is the other acquisitions that we made, you know, and where we were,” Schwartz told reporters. “And it really sort of put us up against, ‘How are we going to get reps for all these guys?’ We do like a good, young player in the pipeline in [defensiv end] Alex McCalister. [We] had drafted, obviously drafted [defensive end] Derek [Barnett], and brought in [defensive end] Chris [Long]. You know, so that made it difficult.
“You know, [Smith] played some good football last year for us. He got a sack on [left tackle] Tyron Smith on the third play of the Dallas game that was a good sack. We just, you know, I think it just got to the point that there are only so many reps at practice, so many reps in training camp, and we devoted those to the guys that we brought in, plus the other guys that we’ve had.”
It’s still early in the process to make that move, and the Eagles could have kept him around in the event that one or more of the other pass rushers suffer injury. Cutting him now, however, gave him a fair chance to land elsewhere. Which he did, with the Seahawks.