The Eagles on Monday traded former 2nd-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for Seahawks safety Ugo Amadi, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
NFL Network first reported the trade.
Neither player figured in their team’s plans. Arcega-Whiteside, who has 16 receptions for 290 yards and a touchdown in three NFL seasons, converted from wide receiver to tight end in the spring, and Amadi was expected to be released. In fact, ESPN reported earlier Monday that the Seahawks planned to release Amadi, who has played in 47 games with 12 starts in three years in Seattle, with roster cuts to 85 looming on Tuesday.
The Eagles have been trying to figure out the safety spot all summer, with only Marcus Epps solidifying a job. Anthony Harris has had a very quiet camp, Jaquiski Tartt has not made an impression and missed a week with personal reasons and K’Von Wallace has been up and down. Undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship has elbowed his way into the picture, and special teamer Andre Chachere has played well also.
In Amadi, the Eagles get a 25-year-old former 4th-round pick who started five games in 2020 and seven more last year. He has one career interception, 128 tackles and two forced fumbles in 1,318 career defensive snaps.
As for Arcega-Whiteside, it was clear something was up Sunday, when he was absent from practice with the designation “not injury related.”
Arcega-Whiteside got just eight offensive snaps in the preseason opener against the Jets. He was targeted once – Reid Sinnett threw his way on a 1st-and-10 pass with three minutes left in the game – but did not have any catches.
Even with the Eagles suffering some injuries at tight end – Tyree Jackson hasn’t practiced yet after tearing an ACL last year and Grant Calcaterra has missed most of camp with a hamstring injury – JJAW was fighting a virtually impossible battle to make the roster at a new position.
“It’s not easy when you’ve played a position for 10 years, 12 years,” Arcega-Whiteside told NBC Sports Philadelphia earlier in camp. “I’ve played receiver since I was a kid.
“I always embrace challenges. Always embrace anything I have to work for. I don’t like things given to me. I like to earn things, and this is definitely one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in football. My goal isn’t just to play tight end but to play it at a high level.”
Arcega-Whiteside on Aug. 3 said he wasn’t tied to continuing at tight end for the rest of his career and said he would be open to returning to wide receiver if he was asked.
It’s not clear whether the Seahawks plan to play JJAW as a tight end or receiver, but he said he only gained 10 pounds to play tight end.
“I wouldn’t say there’s no going back,” he said. “I’ve just always been a guy that whatever the coach needs me to do I’m going to do. If you need me to go play special teams I’ll do it, if you need me to play tight end I’ll do it. Whatever they need me to do, I adjust accordingly and help the team as much as possible. That’s all I’m focused on.”
Arcega-Whiteside is one of only two receivers in NFL history – and the first in more than 60 years - drafted in the first or second round to play at least 40 games in his first three seasons and catch 16 or fewer passes.
The other was Bobby Crespino, drafted with the 10th overall pick by the Browns in 1961. Crespino had six catches for 97 yards and two TDs in his first three seasons, although he remained in the league for five more years – ironically, after converting to tight end.
He becomes the Eagles’ sixth 1st- or 2nd-round pick from the 2011-2019 drafts to finish his Eagles career with 40 or fewer games played.
The others were 2011 1st- and 2nd-round picks Fireman Danny and Jaiquawn Jarrett, 2014 1st-round pick Marcus Smith, 2015 2nd-round pick Eric Rowe and 2017 2nd-round pick Sidney Jones.
He’s only the second receiver the Eagles have drafted in the first two rounds to finish his Eagles career with 16 or fewer catches. The other one is 1990 2nd-round pick Mike Bellamy, who played only six games as an Eagle and didn’t catch a pass.
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