Instant analysis: Eagles sign two familiar faces to futures deals

Eagles Football
Philadelphia Eagles’s Adam Zaruba catches a pass during NFL football training camp in Philadelphia, Friday, July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

After signing former Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson yesterday, the Eagles have added three more names to their list of players who have signed futures contracts. Two of them spent time with the Eagles during the offseason.

TE Adam Zaruba:

Zaruba was signed during the offseason by the Philadelphia Eagles, catching 2 passes for 17 yards during the preseason. At 6’5, and 265 lbs, it was clear that his large frame could transpose with ease to the NFL. With Rob Gronkowski just being an inch taller, Zaruba possesses a prototypical tight end physique. But what else does he bring to the table?

A star of the Canada Sevens Rugby squad, Zaruba helped his team to a Bronze medal during the World Series Tournament in London earlier this year.

Zaruba was a winger for the Canada national team and was named in the 2014-15 squad that would compete in the Gold Coast Sevens tournament. Playing in all nine games, this was a big jump up from his days with Capilano RFC in his hometown, prior to being spotted by the Canadian national sevens staff.

It goes without saying that Rugby is a very different sport to Football, however, many of the still traits apply. Zaruba is incredibly athletic, and the Eagles could always use some extra production in the way of hands. With a 40-time expected to be in the mid 4.5’s, it’s safe to say that as a Winger, agility and speed come naturally.

Most recently, after making this stunning catch, Zaruba went to workout at the University of British Columbia last year, catching passes from Quarterback Michael O’Connor. Zaruba actually played Football at Carson Graham Secondary School and was recruited to continue his career at the next level. Something that didn’t pan out as planned, but led him to the game of Rugby. In High school, he played along the trenches.

Unable to stick to the final 53, the Eagles clearly liked what they saw from Zaruba in what was a limited time frame. Freakishly athletic and with size at his disposal, the Eagles need to find stability at tight end with the futures of both Celek and Burton uncertain. He may not pinch a starting role anytime soon, but Zaruba brings plenty of developmental upside to the table.


P Cameron Johnston:

A career high average of 46 yards per punt saw Cameron Johnston end his Ohio State career in style, as he headed to the nest to compete alongside Donnie Jones earlier this offseason. Jones kept his role, but Johnston certainly impressed. A longest punt of 61 yards in the preseason raised eyebrows along with his average of 44.9 yards per punt, actually exceeding the average of Donnie Jones.
Named Punter of the Year as a Senior, Johnston ranked 1st in the Big Ten with his 46.7 yard average, landing 109 punts inside the 20-yard line throughout his career.

A native of Geelong, Australia, Johnston actually worked out ProKickAustralia to prepare himself for the transition to the USA and for what the game of Football may have in store for him.

Jones has had his wobbly moments this year, but has looked mostly impressive throughout. The Eagles do need a second punter for the 90-man roster however and familiarity is always good.


Johnson and Zaruba join Marquess Wilson as the only players to have signed futures deals with the team so far.


CB Elie Bouka

Elie Bouka joins Aaron Grymes, Mitchell White as the third CFL corner to be signed by the Eagles in two years and there’s more to that trend than meets the eye.

Bouka missed his final year of Canada West eligibility after rupturing his Achilles tendon during training camp. This led to a drop in draft stock (does that sound familiar?) as he slipped into the lap of the Riders who has the 24th overall pick last year. Despite the injury however, the 6’1, 205 corner drew attention from the Arizona Cardinals, who would sign him as an NFL undrafted free agent.

A hamstring injury shot an arrow into the dream of his NFL career however as he spent the year on injured reserve. One year later, a sprained ankle kept him out of a crucial training camp, leading to the Cardinals to cut ties. The Eagles did actually work Bouka out after this happened, but he instead ventured back to Canada and fulfilled his role with the Roughriders, acting as a special teams ace and amassing 3 tackles this season.


With some playing time under his belt and a clean bill of health, the Eagles decided to revisit their love for CFL cornerbacks and give Bouka another shot at the NFL. It’s clear that the versatile DB who played Safety for the Riders has the right skillset for the NFL, but can he succeed with the Eagles next year?

Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke