Mid-days With Bob Cooney: Weekdays 10am – 2pm

Mid-days With Bob Cooney: Weekdays 10am – 2pm

Mid-days With Bob Cooney: Weekdays 10am – 2pm

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 17: Azeez Al-Shaair #2 of the Tennessee Titans looks on prior to a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Nissan Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The linebacker play for the Eagles this season was a disaster. Nakobe Dean missed most of the season, and the guys behind him didn’t play nearly well enough. Week after week we saw the Eagles get picked apart across the middle of the field. Nicholas Morrow alone was responsible for over half of the yards the 49ers put up on them. They were desperate enough to take a chance on Shaq Leonard mid-season. But his injuries clearly impacted his play, and he was not half the player he used to be.

Apart from Dean, they need a completely fresh start at linebacker. The problem is that we know how little value the Eagles place in the position. As long as Howie Roseman has been here, they have not invested in it. If they happen to find a good LB, they are only here until they hit free agency and another team is willing to pay them what they won’t. Nearly every single season, they are at the bottom of the league in terms of money spent at LB.

So while I would love to say they can go out and sign a Lavonte David or Patrick Queen, it does not feel likely. Those players are out of the range they would invest at LB. But there are competent LBs they can bring in. They did it back in the day with Nigel Bradham, and then again last season with Kyzir White. White cost them just $3 million in 2022, and did a solid job as the second LB to TJ Edwards. You can find affordable linebackers that won’t break the bank. What the Eagles need is linebackers who won’t actively hurt them. It can’t be a repeat of this past season where their LBs get picked on every game.

Here are 5 Linebackers who could help the Eagles:

  • Josey Jewell

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 10: Joshua Kelley #25 of the Los Angeles Chargers is tackled by Josey Jewell #47, Alex Singleton #49 and Baron Browning #56 of the Denver Broncos during the third quarter at SoFi Stadium on December 10, 2023 in Inglewood, California.

    Josey Jewell is the epitome of a jack of all trades. Everything you can ask a linebacker to do, he is passable at. Is he a master of any one thing? Not really. But he can play the run, drop back in coverage, and even blitz a little bit. What is most important, is you will rarely see him be in the wrong spot. he plays his role, and does it well. he is a bit like Kyzir white in that regard. Jewell won’t come in and be a superstar and take over games. But you won’t have to worry about defenses taking advantage of him.

  • Blake Cashman

    HOUSTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 03: Blake Cashman #53 of the Houston Texans lines up for a play in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at NRG Stadium on December 03, 2023 in Houston, Texas.

    Cashman failed to make much of an impact in his first 4 seasons. But under Demeco Ryans last season, he broke out into a solid Linebacker. He was top 15 in missed tackle rate and had 8 tackles for a loss. Was that a great coach in NRyans getting the most out of him, or was it a genuine breakout season? He was AFC Defensive Player of the Week 1 time this season, and the Eagles had no linebackers nearly good enough to earn that honor. So whatever he is, he would be an upgrade over what they had.

  • Azeez Al-Shaair

    NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 17: Azeez Al-Shaair #2 of the Tennessee Titans looks on prior to a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Nissan Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.

    When a player is the third guy at LB, or at Corner, on a very good defense, it can often be hard to judge them. That was Shaair before last season, as he played behind Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw in San Francisco. Then he signed with the Titans, took on a bigger role, and was solid. Shaair is tremendous against the run. He is the type of linebacker who can make a difference there, attacking the run gaps and fighting through blocks to make a play. Against the pass? He can get by. He won’t be a difference-maker there. But he also won’t be as bad as someone like Morrow was in coverage.

  • Drue Tranquill

    KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 13: Drue Tranquill #23 of the Kansas City Chiefs signals after a defensive stop during the second half against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 13, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.

    The Eagles probably should have signed him last year. His market never materialized after a solid year with the Chargers in 2022 that saw him rack up 146 tackles. He ended up signing a 1-year, $3 million deal with the Chiefs, who became one of the top defenses in the league. He was still very good, but perhaps not quite as productive as in 2022. If his market is light again, and you can get him as cheap as the Chiefs did this season, the Eagles have to jump on it. He is dependable against both the run and the pass and can blitz on occasion too. Tranquill, at the price he cost the Chiefs last year, feels like the perfect fit for the Eagles with how they handle the Lb spot.

  • Jordan Hicks

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 15: Jordan Hicks #58 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates an interception during the first half in the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 15, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

    Why not reunite with an old friend? Jordan Hicks is one of the best Linebackers the Eagles have had in the Roseman era. They let him walk when he hit Free Agency because he was going to get too much money for their tastes. Now, several years later, he may be more affordable. Still perhaps out of their price range, but if his price does come down, the Eagles should be interested.

  • Watch Andrew Salciunas live on the 97.5 The Fanatic YouTube page on Weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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