Potential linebackers the Eagles could target through trades & free agency

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The Eagles cut one of their veterans on Tuesday, as Howie Roseman works on his “attachment to players” problem. The team declined Nigel Bradham’s team option for 2020, making him a free agent and saving around $4.5 million in cap space.

Here’s how the LB Depth chart looks as a result:

  • T.J. Edwards
  • Nate Gerry
  • Alex Singleton
  • Genard Avery  (listed as defensive end but also has experience as linebacker)
  • Duke Riley

Of course, it’s only February and that’s not going to be the final product going into next season.

There’s less than month left until free agency opens and trades can happen, but veterans can be cut beforehand. Let’s take a look at possible free agent additions, veterans to look out for in case they’re cut, and trade targets.

Free Agency

There are a lot of intriguing names heading into free agency this season, including some that would command a nice chunk of change.

Joe Schobert

Let’s get my free agency crush out of the way. Schobert is my ideal addition to fix this linebacker corps. He has 408 combined tackles in his first four seasons in the league. No Eagles linebacker has ever had that many tackles in their first four seasons, the most is Seth Joyner with 399. In fact, there has never been an Eagles defender with that many tackles – Reggie White had the most with 407. He also had 156 assisted tackles, 11th most in a player’s first four years in NFL history. The most for the Eagles is Mychal Kendricks with 85.

His six interceptions in those four years are just two less than Joyner’s eight.

He led the league in 2017 in tackles with 144. He did have 16 missed tackles in 2019, and a run defense grade of 47.1 from ProFootballFocus (PFF), but he makes up for those mistakes.

Schobert is a stud. He’ll probably command a similar salary to Kwon Alexander’s 4 year $54 million deal, but he’s worth it.

Cory Littleton

If you’re more into recent breakout linebackers instead of production over a longer period, look no further than Cory Littleton.

Littleton started his first two seasons pretty slowly, registering a combined 56 tackles. But then in 2018, he broke out with 125 tackles and three interceptions. He followed that up in 2019 with 134 tackles and two interceptions. Littleton is PFF’s sixth best defensive free agent and has a 90.6 coverage grade from them over the past two seasons, which is third best in the league.

Like Schobert, he isn’t great against the run. He posted a 50.8 run defense grade over the last two seasons, 103rd out of 126 qualified linebackers over that time. But his value in pass defense might be too good to pass up.

Contract could rival Schobert’s deal, maybe even be more.

Nick Kwiatkoski

According to Spotrac, no linebacker gave better value on their contracts that Kwiatkoski did. His 99.43 “true value score” ranked almost eight points higher than Cory Littleton.

Making $728K in 2019, Kwiatkoski had 76 tackles, three sacks, a safety, and an interception.

It wouldn’t be the first time the Eagles were interested in Kwiatkoski, as he met with the team on a pre-draft visit prior to the 2016 draft.

To me, he’d be an “L.J. Fort” addition. A player who still acts as a key special teamer while enjoying a defensive breakout. Kwiatkoski enjoyed some really good games last year and proved that he’s ready to become a three-down backer.

A contract should look similar to the three year $10 million that Fort received from the Eagles.

De’Vondre Campbell

If you’re looking for an addition that has a connection to a current Eagles coach, Campbell’s your guy.

New Eagles defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel was the Falcons’ defensive coordinator in 2017 and 2018, where Campbell also played. In those two seasons, Campbell had 92 and 94 tackles and had 129 in his one season without Manuel in 2019.

Campbell plays outside linebacker, a position that sorely needs depth on the Eagles.

Despite the production, he shouldn’t command a hefty pay day. I’d expect four year $38 million.

Other free agents to watch for:
  • Vic Beasley
  • A.J. Klein
  • Elijah Lee
  • Darron Lee
  • Kevin Pierre-Louis
  • Darron Lee
  • Jon Bostic

Next, let’s take a look at players who could be cut from their current teams.

Continued on page 2 below.

Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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