LINEBACKER has long been a sore spot for this team. Our 20 year history of identifying and developing talent at this position “hasn’t been great” to put it kindly. It’s specifically for that reason that we need to pick up the option on LB Nigel Bradham’s contract.
How much are we talking? In 2019 Bradham had a cap hit figure of 4.4M. In 2020 that would jump to 9.7M. That’s an additional 5.3M, or a raise of 120%. And yes, it sounds steep when you say it that way.
However, given the current LB market, our projected cap space (42M according to Spotrac), and that his cap hit freezes at 9.7 for two years, it means if he’s basically affordable until his deal expires in 2023.
Has Bradham been amazing? No, he hasn’t, but he has been pretty good, he’s been consistent, he does call our defensive plays, and he’s still the best LB we have. Replacing him through free agency would likely cost more, with no guarantee that they’d be as good as what we already have.
OLB Nate Gerry is more like a S/LB tweener, both in build and play style. All indications are that OLB/DE Genard Avery will be used more like a stand-up DE, and less like a real OLB. So Counting Bradham, we have effectively 1.5 LB’s, and then a bunch of kick coverage guys.
The position undoubtedly needs a rebuild, and the Eagles will undoubtedly draft a LB, be it inside or outside. (Hopefully inside.) For now, Bradham and Gerry give us a decent base to build on. So why not start there, instead of scrapping everything, and hoping things work out for the best?
Re-sign Bradham, and build around him as a point of stability. This one is easy. Let’s hope the Front Office gets it right.