One last Eagles free agency move could be the key to an elite defense

#HowieSZN has been quite the ride this offseason, hasn’t it?

Here’s a little refresher of the moves that have happened since free agency began:

  • Re-signed defensive end Brandon Graham
  • Signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson
  • Traded for wide receiver DeSean Jackson
  • Signed linebacker L.J. Fort
  • Re-signed cornerback Ronald Darby
  • Signed safety Andrew Sendejo
  • Signed defensive end Vinny Curry
  • Re-signed tight end Richard Rodgers
  • Traded for running back Jordan Howard

All of these new signings on top of the extensions of center Jason Kelce, guard Isaac Seumalo, and tackle Jason Peters.

The Eagles certainly look on paper like they will be dynamic next season, especially on offense. The defense is adding Jackson, Fort, Sendejo, and Curry (again) to a unit that already boasts the likes of Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Malcolm Jenkins, among others.  

However, there is one free agent out there that, if signed, would bring this defensive unit from just very good to elite.

Zach Brown

No, not that Zach Brown.  The former Titans, Bills, and Redskins linebacker is on the market for linebacker-needy teams.  

The Eagles are a team that could use some help in linebacker depth.  Nigel Bradham is the only returning linebacker who played significant snap counts in 2018.  He played 88.54% of the snaps in 2018, whereas Nate Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill played 12.91% and 31.60% respectively.  

Brown played 68.05% of the Redskins defensive snaps last season, down from 76.09% in 2017.  He missed the final three games in 2017 due to an Achilles sprain, but he still led the team in tackles with 127.  In 2016, he led the Bills in tackles with 149.

Brown played in all 16 games last season, starting 12, but was benched late in the season in favor of a rookie.  After the season, Brown admitted that he played the whole season on a torn oblique muscle that was “painful every day” and should’ve sat out to get healthy.  

But despite the down year due to injury, 96 tackles, he still ranked as ProFootBallFocus’ third-best linebacker in 2018:

Over the last three seasons, Brown has 95 run stops.  That’s third amongst linebackers.  He also joined Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechley as the only linebackers in 2018 to register tackling, coverage, and run-stopping grades over 80.  

A linebacker corps that would feature Brown in the MIKE position vacated by Jordan Hicks, Bradham at the SAM, and Grugier-Hill, Fort, Worrilow, Gerry, and/or a rookie rotating through the WILL position for Jim Schwartz’s defense could lead to NFL teams barely reaching 40 rushing yards a game against the Eagles.

 

What say you, Eagles fans? Would you like to see the Eagles jump on the Zach Brown Band-wagon? (see what I did there?)

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

3 thoughts on “One last Eagles free agency move could be the key to an elite defense

  1. I’m so displeased that they didnt make this happen. In our scheme WE NEED 2 coverage LBs. Howie passed on Zaxh to get Lj Fort? Smh Come on guys…

  2. Hicks was excellent when healthy. Its been a long time since we’ve have a consistent presence at linebacker. With the stacked front four a good linebacker should look great.

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