Image courtesy of Cover32.com
Over the next few days, Pattison Ave will be addressing the Eagles free agents needs while evaluating each position.
Current position addressed: Linebackers.
The Eagles linebacking unit has been one that has been under scrutiny for years, but finally, it appears that the Eagles have some playmakers. Connor Barwin led the team in sacks, and his all around game continues to amaze. Mychal Kendricks has begun to develop into a star inside linebacker. Despite the injury to Demeco Ryans, the leader and captain of the defense, the Birds acquisition of Kiko Alonso, former rookie defensive player of the year, to fill Mufasa’s void.
Despite the injury to Ryans, the Eagles now appear set at inside linebacker with Alonso and Kendricks. The breakout season of the Angry Bird has the team excited. Despite missing four games with a calf strain, Kendricks finished the season with 83 tackles, four sacks, and three forced fumbles. The California native has all the attributes needed to be become a star.
Where the team lacks depth is at outside linebacker. Despite Barwin’s Pro Bowl season, the team released Trent Cole and is likely to lose Brandon Graham to free agency. Slated to start on the outside is rookie bust Marcus Smith.
The Eagles will have some decisions to make when free agency officially begins. One such decision is the restructuring, re-signing, or releasing of Ryans, the teams emotional and spiritual leader. If the Birds do decide to let Ryans go, getting depth on the inside is imperative, as Casey Matthews also finds himself in the free agent pool.
If the Eagles attack free agency, here are some options that the Birds could be interested in.
- Jason Worilds: Had it note been for the transition tag, he former Steelers linebacker would have signed with the Eagles last offseason, according to Adam Caplan, Instead, Worilds played out the one year contract, and finished with 59 tackles and 7.5 sacks. There is little reason to think that the Eagles would not have interest again in the outside linebacker from Virginia Tech.
- Sean Weatherspoon: The former Missouri linebacker 25 games over the last two seasons, including all of 2014 with a ruptured Achilles tendon. When healthy, the South Carolina native is a three-down linebacker capable of getting to the quarterback and stopping the run. His best season came in 2011, where he registered 115 tackles and four sacks, while starting all 16 games.
- Brian Orakpo: The former Texas Longhorn played in just seven games after being hit with the franchise tag by Washington last season. In those seven games, Orakpo registered just 24 tackles .5 a sack. If healthy, the Texas native can be a dominant force, but healthy has been the issue for the linebacker, as he has missed 24 games over the last three seasons.