The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles have been busy. While they lost some big names on defense, they’ve also added some interesting talent. Let’s break down Philadelphia’s defensive moves since the start of the league year.
Breaking Down the Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Off-Season Moves
Players Added or Retained
Michael Bennett: Defensive End
The acquisition of Michael Bennett was far and away the most substantial off-season move orchestrated by general manager Howie Roseman. Bennett is a very talented veteran defensive end. He played over 900 snaps one year ago for Seattle while dealing with a foot injury. Bennett has great power and brings a quick burst off the ball. He’s multi-dimensional, bringing the heat against the pass with run stuffing ability. Fans can count on defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz leveraging his talent in sub-packages where he’ll line up next to a dominant Fletcher Cox, with Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett on the ends. That’s a menacing front four that no quarterback is looking forward to facing on passing downs.
Daryl Worley: Cornerback
Daryl Worley is a 6’1″,198-pound cornerback who has shown flashes since arriving as a third-round pick in 2016. He’s a sizable corner with long arms and big hands who fits best into zone press schemes. Worley has good instincts and ball skills that make up for any lack of natural speed. The addition provides the Eagles with vital secondary depth behind starters Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills. Acquiring Worley was another tremendous move, gaining an asset in a young cornerback with potential in exchange for aging wide receiver Torrey Smith, who was likely to be released.
Haloti Ngata: Defensive Tackle
The rich definitely got richer with the addition of five-time Pro Bowl veteran Haloti Ngata. The Eagles effectively went with Ngata over retaining Beau Allen. They didn’t have to guarantee Ngata money past this season and Allen would’ve commanded a multi-year deal. He joins an already dominant interior defensive line and will pick up where Allen left off in the rotation. There was a point in the not so distant past where Ngata ranked among the most elite defensive tackles in the game. There’s still some gas in the tank, and Ngata figures to be a productive contributor to an already stacked line.
Corey Nelson: Linebacker
Coming off a 2017 season in Denver that was derailed after playing just five games due to a bicep injury, the 25-year-old Nelson signed for one-year and $2.25 million. At 235 pounds, Nelson brings a versatile style of play. He can cover and effectively stop the run. He’s a young linebacker with three down potential, who’ll improve the special teams unit and compete for a starting job. He said he is about 90 percent back to full health, and will be 100 percent very soon.
Nigel Bradham: Linebacker
Most analysts didn’t believe Nigel Bradham would be back with the Birds. Bradham was a pillar on the Super Bowl champs’ defense, recording 88 tackles and a return touchdown across 922 regular season snaps. With Mychal Kendricks being handsomely paid, and a returning Jordan Hicks, it was a huge keep. Bradham signed a five-year deal worth $40 million. The deal makes him a top-eight highest paid 4-3 outside linebacker. Schwartz drafted Bradham in Buffalo before lobbying for his services in Philadelphia. Kendricks is likely to be cut.
Players That Have Departed
Beau Allen: Defensive Tackle
Popular with fans, Allen was definitely an underrated piece of the defensive rotation. He lands with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, signing a three-year deal worth $6.5 million. There’s no doubt Allen is a solid player, but the Eagles are set with Cox and Tim Jernigan for the long term.
Patrick Robinson: Cornerback
Paradoxically, it was expected that Patrick Robinson would be back and Bradham would walk. The opposite unfolded. Robinson goes back to the New Orleans Saints. He was a great slot corner for the Super Bowl champs. The Eagles will look to their young core to step up.
Vinny Curry: Defensive End
Something had to be done with Vinny Curry‘s large $11 million cap hit. After futile attempts to restructure, Curry was released saving $5 million in cap space. While Curry only recorded three sacks, he had an impressive 41 quarterback hurries. A second-round pick by Philadelphia in 2012, he’s recorded 22 career sacks over seven NFL seasons. He joins fellow teammate Beau Allen in Tampa Bay.
Philadelphia has managed to improve their roster while managing the salary cap effectively. It comes as no surprise that Roseman continues his masterful ways. The Eagles have creatively added defensive talent while maintaining salary cap flexibility for the future.