The 2020/21 season will be remembered as one of complete disappointment for many Philadelphia Eagles fans, but with every cloud comes at least one silver lining. In a year where linebacker depth was minimal, it was Alex Singleton who provided exactly that.
Alex Singleton breaks free
It’s almost strange to think that at the beginning of the year, Singleton was barely playing. After 10 snaps in the season opener, he was back to solely special teams duties in week 2 and played a single defensive snap in week 3. He made the most of his next opportunity.
Singleton picked off a huge pass and took it to the house for a score against the Niners. Since then, his snaps and production have taken a trip to the moon. Between weeks 10 and 17, Singleton played virtually every single snap. He ended the season with 106 tackles to his name, leading the team by a significant margin. The next closest player was Jalen Mills, who amassed 74.
The story so far
The former CFL standout became a stout run-defender and excelled in shooting gaps, making him a menace in the backfield. His nose for the ball saw him tally 6 QB hits, 4 TFL, and a pair of fumble recoveries.
After going undrafted in 2015, the 6’2, 232 lbs, linebacker bounced around NFL practice squads before landing in Calgary. In three seasons, he recorded 311 tackles, 4 sacks, one interception, and forced six fumbles.
Singleton joined the Eagles last year following that dominant stint where he was named an All-Star on two occasions. He was also given the CFL’s ‘Most Outstanding Defensive player’ in 2017, leading the league in tackles one year later. Now, you can make the case that he was the Eagles’ most outstanding defensive player.
Alex Singleton wants to stay with the Eagles
He’s currently an ‘Exclusive Rights Free Agent‘. This means that so long as the Eagles make him an offer of a one-year deal at the league minimum, he cannot sign elsewhere. This is a godsend for a team that refuses to pay prolific talent at the position. The better news is that Philadelphia is where Singleton wants to be.
“I want to be here. This is the place that gave me an opportunity.” He stated after last night’s loss. “As much as I know about the exclusive rights, it’s in the Eagles hands. Hopefully I’m back here for 2021.”
Of course, he will be playing under a new defensive coordinator if the Eagles do bring him back. Whether that man will be someone from within the organization or elsewhere remains to be seen, but Singleton had nothing but praise for the highly-regarded Jim Schwartz.
“That’s the smartest football mind I’ve ever been around.” He said when asked about the departure of Schwartz. “Just the stuff that he knows. I take notes. Just all the stuff he says all the time. Just the little nuances of the game I’ve just learned by him talking, day in and day out in a causal meeting…
… I think he says it all the time, he might be the hardest guy on us, and I think that you just learn to respect him so much as time goes on. I respect him more than anything in the world and I couldn’t be happier to play for him.”
Alex Singleton may not be playing under Jim Schwartz in 2021, but he, and fans alike, would love to see him still repping #49 and playing for the Eagles.
Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire