Eagles release Jaiquawn Jarrett, bring back Mardy Gilyard

Ex-Temple Owl Jaiquawn Jarrett tries tackling a Brown. He didn't show NFL speed.
Ex-Temple Owl Jaiquawn Jarrett tries tackling a Brown. He didn't show NFL speed. (RON CORTES / Staff)
Posted: September 12, 2012

The Eagles confirmed what many had thought when they selected Temple's Jaiquawn Jarrett in the second round of the 2011 draft: He was a reach.

Jarrett was released to make room for Mardy Gilyard, who the Eagles signed Tuesday to bolster a wide receiver corps that is already down one and possibly two if Jeremy Maclin can't play Sunday against the Ravens.

Gilyard spent all of the preseason with the Eagles but was released on Aug. 31 when the roster was trimmed to 53.

Jarrett appeared in jeopardy of getting cut that day as well after struggling through the preseason. But the Eagles gave the safety a reprieve after coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman said he had shown improvement as the preseason progressed.

But the team cut the cord less than two weeks later after an uninspiring opener in which Jarrett played a team-high 25 special-teams snaps and failed to make a tackle.

As he did several times in the preseason opener against the Steelers, Jarrett completely whiffed on a tackle when he tried to take down the Browns' Josh Cribbs during a kick return.

Even if he cleared waivers, Jarrett would not be eligible to return to the Eagles' practice squad since he played in 12 games as a rookie. His release was the earliest Reid has given up on a second-round pick. Linebacker Quinton Caver, who was selected in the 2001 draft, was cut six games into the 2002 season.

Jarrett, chosen 54th overall, was projected by many NFL scouts to be a middle-round talent. Reid initially compared him to former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins because of his big hits in college. Jarrett lacked NFL speed, however, and struggled with his footwork.

The Eagles have not come out and said his selection was based on need, but Roseman, who became GM in January 2010, has said he made a more concerted effort to stick to his board in this year's draft.

There are only seven players that remain from the 12 the Eagles selected in the first four rounds of the 2010-11 drafts. Only three of the seven - safety Nate Allen, guard Danny Watkins, and kicker Alex Henery - are starters.

With Jarrett gone, David Sims becomes the top reserve safety behind starters Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman. The Eagles traded for Sims on Aug. 31, sending a conditional draft pick to the Browns for the onetime undrafted free agent. He has yet to play a down in the NFL.

The release of Jarrett could signal the return of Colt Anderson. The safety has been sidelined since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in December. Anderson returned to practice last week. He has played almost exclusively on special teams, but Roseman said two weeks ago that Anderson would be part of the safety pool.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Gilyard caught nine passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason. Originally a 2010 fourth-round draft pick of the Rams, Gilyard caught six passes for 63 yards as a rookie.

The Eagles are light at receiver with Riley Cooper still out with a broken collarbone. Maclin has a hip pointer, and his status for Sunday is uncertain. Jason Avant has a wrist contusion, but Reid said Monday that he expected him to be ready.

If Maclin can't go, rookie Damaris Johnson or Gilyard could start on the outside opposite DeSean Jackson.

The Eagles also announced that they signed tight end Derek Carrier (6-4, 238), an undrafted rookie, to the practice squad. He takes the place of tight end Chase Ford, who was released.


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INSIDE

Ejected fans will face new punishment. D2.


Contact Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow @Jeff_McLane on Twitter.

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