Matt Hennesy’s Philadelphia homecoming could be extremely valuable for the Eagles

Note: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, Schneps Media may earn a commission.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 21: Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland prior to the National Football League game between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The dust appears to have settled on a wild opening to the legal tampering period of the 2024 NFL offseason, but the Eagles aren’t done yet. PHLY’s Zach Berman reported earlier today that the Eagles are bringing in Temple product Matt Hennessy on a one-year deal.

Who is Matt Hennessy?

Matt Hennessy was a third-round pick back in 2020 and a name many Eagles fans clamoured for during that offseason. As a Temple grad, Hennessy of course has plenty of experience playing at The Linc and entered the draft as a perfect long-term option to potentially replace Jason Kelce.

His three-year NFL career has been an interesting one. He has played in 41 games during that span, starting 22 of them, with 17 of those coming in 2021, his lone season as a starter.

In his rookie year, Hennessy learned behind Alex Mack before being given the starting gig at center one year later. He would pick up a knee injury in 2022 and end up on IR before playing the teams’ final two games at LG. Drew Dalman picked up the baton and became the Falcons’ starting center, leaving Hennessy to work as a plug-and-play backup to serve at both guard and center.

In 2023, he suffered a leg injury in training camp and missed the entire year. He was projected to battle for the starting LG role, with the newly-drafted Matt Bergeron, but that didn’t happen. After playing only 3 games in the last 2 seasons, the Falcons decided to move on from Matt Hennessy, leading him to come home to Philadelphia.

TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 29: Atlanta Falcons Running Back Devonta Freeman (24) during the first half of an NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Bucs on December 29, 2019, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire)

How will he impact the Eagles?

If he can stay healthy, the Eagles will have a player on their hands who is more than capable of starting at the NFL level. He had a PFF grade of 77 of in 2021 (2nd only on the Falcons o-line to Chris Lindstrom) when playing as a starting center, ranking 3rd against the run, but 30th in pass-protection which is slightly concerning.

Health will be the main focal point here. The Eagles can trust in Jeff Stoutland to get the most out of a player the team is bound to be familiar with, and who can more than hold his own when run-blocking, something that became the bread and butter of Jason Kelce’s play during his tenure.

The Eagles needed depth on the interior. The effects of Jason Kelce’s retirement are looming large and while Landon Dickerson, Cam Jurgens, and Tyler Steen are all versatile enough to play multiple roles, including center, having someone who has proven himself there at the NFL level is invaluable.

At worst, Hennessy is a servicable backup behind a very young trio of versatile guards who can provide an insurance policy as he once did for Atlanta. On a one-year deal, it’s a relatively low-risk move from the Eagles, as if he does continue to struggle with injuries, they’re not tied to him long-term.

At best, they have a capable center who might well outshine the likes of Steen and Jurgens in camp, and can hold the fort while the younger talents continue to develop away from the limelight for a year.

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire