The Eagles took care of their kicking operation by signing Jake Elliott and Rick Lovato to one-year contracts on Friday, but the team’s special teams took a bit of a hit with the release of Chris Maragos.
Elliott and Lovato were two of the Eagles’ 18 players who were set to hit the open market as free agents when the new league year begins on March 13.
Both Elliott and Lovato will begin their third seasons with the team; Lovato as the long snapper, Elliott as the kicker.
Elliott has made 52 of 62 field goal tries (83.9 percent) during the past two regular seasons. He was better from 50-plus yards in 2017, going 5-for-6, including a 61-yarder as time expired to beat the Giants. In 2018, he was just 2-for-5 from 50-plus yards.
Terms of their contracts are not yet known.
As for Maragos, the Eagles’ special teams weren’t very special much of last season without him. The sometimes-shoddy play of the special teams wasn’t all on the absence of Maragos, but he was a big reason the team had one of the better specialty units in all of football for several seasons prior to last year.
He may have played his final game, however. At 32, Maragos is coming off two knee different surgeries in a span of less than two years after suffering a serious knee injury on Oct. 12, 2017 against the Carolina Panthers.
The Eagles reworked Maragos’ contract heading into 2018, but he never made it off the PUP list.
Maragos joined the Eagles from the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, which was the second season the Birds were coached by Chip Kelly. Maragos was coming off a Super Bowl-winning season in Seattle.
In three seasons with the Eagles, he recorded 49 tackles on special teams. In his first season with the team, he led the specialty units with 14 tackles while forcing a fumble, scoring his first touchdown after a blocked punt, and was voted a Pro Bowl second alternate.
Maragos overcame great odds to reach the NFL. He never received any college offers coming out of William Horlick High School in Racine, Wisc. He walked on at Western Michigan and Wisconsin as a receiver. He eventually earned a scholarship in his final season with the Badgers.
He joined the 49ers as a rookie free agent in 2010 with a signing bonus of $4,000 before becoming a three-year special teams standout for the Seahawks.