Oct 26, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans (59) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
When the 2014 season came to a close, the Eagles were fairly thin at middle linebacker and had a question mark at outside linebacker heading into the offseason. DeMeco Ryans tore his achilles tendon in week nine versus the Houston Texans and the Eagles were forced to start Casey Matthews for the rest of the season. Mychal Kendricks had battled a nagging calf injury during the season, but played at a very high level when he was on the field. And to complicated matters, Brandon Graham’s contract was set to expire and he was headed towards the open market.
Fast forward a few months.
The Eagles linebacking corps has gone from a position of weakness to one of the team’s biggest strengths.
The Eagles brought in, the former rookie of the year and tackling machine,
, via trade with the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles let Casey Matthews walk for a more experienced backup, by signing the former Green Bay Packer,
. Along with that, the Eagles were able to retain
, despite him hitting the open market.
Lastly, the Eagles extended and restructured DeMeco Ryans’ contract yesterday, keeping him an Eagle until the end of the 2016 season and lowering his cap hit to around $3 million dollars, down from his original $6.9 million.
The Eagles roster now boasts two solid outside linebackers, with Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham, and three very good inside linebackers, with DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, and Kiko Alonso.
This means that the Birds now have a log jam at inside linebacker, making for a potentially sticky situation.
Before breaking down what the Eagles should do at inside linebacker, here is a graphic with basic, yet vital information on the Eagles three inside linebackers:
Now let’s breakdown the Eagles options at linebacker heading into the 2015 season.
Next: Keep DeMeco as the Backup