The Eagles signed 41-year-old quarterback Josh McCown to their practice squad Sunday as an emergency backup.
An NFL source confirmed the ESPN report, which said McCown would stay in his Texas home, isolated from the team, and make $12,000 a week to be on call for the Eagles in a situation where multiple quarterbacks on the active roster are unavailable.
McCown spent last season as the Eagles’ backup, coming in for Carson Wentz in the team’s wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. In a season where coronavirus could knock an entire position group out for a week or two, an emergency quarterback was something the team considered this offseason.
Last season, McCown developed a strong relationship with Wentz. The team talked to McCown about its vacant offensive coordinator job because of his connection with Wentz. McCown told the team in January he hadn’t yet made a decision about retiring as a player. As the emergency quarterback, McCown will now be a part of the team’s quarterback room, albeit virtually.
The McCown signing coincided with a slew of roster moves as the Eagles continue putting the final touches on their roster. They released cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc, claimed running back Jason Huntley off the waiver wire, and added 16 players to the practice squad.
Sunday was a day full of waiver claims as all 32 teams browsed the pool of players who were cut Saturday. The Eagles used their waiver spot to claim Huntley, a fifth-round pick in April’s draft by the Detroit Lions. Huntley is a 5-foot-9, 193-pound running back and return specialist out of New Mexico State. He wasn’t invited to the NFL scouting combine, but ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.
Huntley returned 59 kickoffs during his college career, scoring five touchdowns and averaging 25.8 yards per return. He had 1,090 rushing yards and nine touchdowns last season for the Aggies to go with 192 receiving yards and two touchdown catches.
Huntley’s addition meant the Eagles needed to clear a roster spot, which they did by releasing LeBlanc. The 26-year-old defensive back was the team’s backup nickel corner behind Nickell Robey-Coleman during training camp. He won’t be subject to waivers, meaning any team could sign him now that he’s a free agent.
The Eagles could always sign him back on Monday after roster spots are cleared by players being put on injured reserve, especially considering LeBlanc’s release leaves them with only four cornerbacks on the roster.
The team did place two players on injured reserve Sunday evening to clear a pair of spots, adding safety Will Parks and Quez Watkins on the list for players who will miss at least six games due to injury. Parks reportedly suffered a hamstring injury during training camp, while Watkins was dealing with an upper-body injury at the end of training camp. Both players will be eligible to return to the team in Week 7 and won’t be allowed to practice with the team until then.
The Eagles also saw three players waived on Saturday — including two former draft picks — picked up by different teams on Sunday. Rasul Douglas and Shareef Miller were both picked up by the Carolina Panthers, while undrafted tight end Noah Togiai was claimed by the Indianapolis Colts.
The Eagles may have had interest in bringing Togiai back as a practice-squad member. The former Oregon State standout had a strong training camp in which he got plenty of first-team reps when Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert were sidelined with injury. The Eagles, who often use “12″ personnel with two tight ends on the field, may need a third tight end for Week 1 to step in if Ertz or Goedert needs relief.
The Eagles were able to retain 15 players they originally waived leading into cut-down day. The practice squad was expanded to 16 players this season — up from the planned 12-member squad — to compensate for the potential spread of coronavirus. The Eagles have 17 spots available because of an NFL program allowing an extra space for international players. Because Matt Leo is on the practice squad under that designation, they’ll have one more spot to fill.
Teams will also be allowed to elevate two players from the practice squad for game day each week because of the pandemic.
Here are the players on the team’s practice squad:
WR Deontay Burnett
WR Travis Fulgham
QB Josh McCown
DB Grayland Arnold
RB Elijah Holyfield
RB Adrian Killins
C Luke Juriga
C Sua Opeta
DE Joe Ostman
DB Elijah Riley
T Prince Tega Wanogho
RB Michael Warren
DT Raequan Williams
DB Trevor Williams
TE Caleb Wilson
DE Matt Leo
Jeff McLane contributed reporting.