Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.
Roob: It didn't take long for Long to make an impact on his new team, both on the field and off. Long was a vocal leader and impact-making third defensive end for the Super Bowl champs, not to mention very active along with close friend Malcolm Jenkins in various social causes in the community and also back in Charlottesville, Va. Long is under contract for one more year with a relatively modest $2.35 million cap hit. Great guy to have around.
Dave: It turns out Long was right. The Eagles' 4-3 defense did suit him pretty well. At 32 years old, Long played 48 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps, had five sacks and four forced fumbles. Four forced fumbles! That's the most FF any Eagle has had since Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham both did it in 2014. Long really seemed to fit the team and the city. It was a good signing. He does have a cap number over $2.3 million this upcoming season, so there might be a decision to make. But he still has value.
Roob: Lovato quietly had a very steady year as the Eagles' first long snapper not named Jon Dorenbos since Mike Bartrum. The 25-year-old Central Jersey native had brief stints with the Bears, Packers and Redskins before replacing an injured Dorenbos briefly in 2016. Lovato and Dorenbos both got Super Bowl rings this year, which must not happen too often.
Dave: One of the big upsets of last summer was Lovato's beating out Dorenbos for the long snapper job. Everyone thought Dorenbos was going to come back from his wrist injury and coast, but Lovato beat him out before the Eagles decided to try to move Dorenbos to the Saints. Lovato had a fine season. He's not going back to his family's sandwich shop yet.
Roob: Kind of a tricky one. You know the Eagles like to stay young on special teams, and Maragos, now 31, is really a player without a position, although he can play safety in an emergency. If Maragos is healthy coming off the season-ending knee injury he suffered against the Panthers, he'll get a shot in camp. But the Eagles could save $1.5 million under the cap by releasing him. It would be tough to see him go, but my guess is the Eagles will get younger and cheaper and try to develop a young backup safety who can also play on special teams.
Dave: Maragos is coming off a serious injury, but would the Eagles consider cutting him once he's healthy? Well, you could make that case. Maragos has a cap number of $2 million this season and the team could save $1.5 in cap room by cutting him. It might be a decent idea, but they're not going to cut him until he's healthy and by that point, Howie Roseman will have already worked his magic to get the Eagles under the cap. And Maragos is a big part of the team. It meant so much to him to be named one of the captains last year and he still made his presence felt even after he couldn't play. He has at least one year left in Philly.