The Eagles announced that they’ve signed free agent defensive end Chris Long to a two-year deal. The first year of the deal is similar to the $2.4MM pact Long inked with the Patriots last year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
Long’s deal with Philadelphia serves as a nice birthday present, as the nine-year pro turns 32 years old today. After spending one season with New England (and winning a Super Bowl in the process), Long announced earlier this month that he wouldn’t re-sign with the Patriots, citing the need for increased playing time and a more prominent defensive role. Long ranked as PFR’s No. 3 free agent edge defender behind Dwight Freeney and Elvis Dumervil.
With the Eagles, Long will likely fill the role Connor Barwin played in 2016, although unlike Barwin, Long probably won’t be a starter, per Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic (Twitter links). Instead, Long is set to serve in a rotational capacity, taking pass-rushing snaps behind Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry. While Barwin was never a perfect fit for Jim Schwartz‘s scheme, Long has played in 4-3 fronts for the entirety of his career.
With the Patriots in 2016, Long appeared in all 16 games (seven starts) and played on roughly 65% of the club’s snaps. In that period, Long posted 35 tackles and four sacks, grading as the league’s No. 59 edge defender among 109 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.
Mike Garafolo of NFL.com first reported the signing (Twitter link). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.