The Eagles want to acquire an inside linebacker via the trade market, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The report doesn’t specify whether de facto general manager Howie Roseman & Co. are looking for a starting-caliber player, or simply hope to add depth, but La Canfora does add that “things will intensify in [a] few weeks” (in reference to the trading season as a whole).
Moving back to a 4-3 defense following three years playing a 3-4 front, the Eagles are projected to start Jordan Hicks at middle linebacker, with Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks flanking him on either side. Hicks was excellent in the five starts he made during his rookie season, and Philadelphia has expressed their confidence in him throughout the summer, so it’s unlikely the club is aiming to replace him. As such, the Eagles are probably looking for someone to compete with reserve inside ‘backers Najee Goode and Joe Walker.
And though La Canfora’s report does specify that Philadelphia is searching for an inside linebacker, it wouldn’t be surprising if the team is also looking for bodies on the outside as well, especially given that Bradham could face a league-imposed suspension due to his involvement in an assault last month. Bradham is accused of punching a hotel employee following a dispute over an umbrella purchase, and is likely facing a ban under the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Furthermore, the Eagles’ interest in acquiring a linebacker via trade could speak to the nature of their talks with free agent LB Stephen Tulloch, with whom the club had reportedly been negotiating with over the weekend. Tulloch has experience in new Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz‘s scheme, but he’s also coming off an injury, so perhaps the Eagles found something in a physical they didn’t like.
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