ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Kellen Winslow #82 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes a catch as Curtis Lofton #50 of the Atlanta Falcons defends during play at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons won 45-24. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
We've spent a large amount of time coming through the possibilities at LB available to the Eagles in the upcoming draft, but less so on the free agent market. Given that free agency will be back to happening before the draft this season, it's probably more pressing to look at that first.
So here's four candidates to help plug up the middle of that Eagles defense.
Stephen Tulloch - He was looking for big money last year and didn't get it, instead opting for a one year deal with the Lions. He'll obviously be looking to take another crack at that big deal this time around. He's only 27 and has played in the Jim Washburn wide-9 system his whole career, so he'd be able to step right into this defense with minimal learning curve. He had 111 tackles last year, but can tend to get lost in coverage.
Curtis Lofton - Another tackling machine who had 147 total last season. He's just shy of 500 total tackles in his four year career and he'll turn 26 this June. So he really should be just entering his prime years and he's already a very good run stopper. However, he's probably worse than Tulloch in coverage.
D'Qwell Jackson - Jackson missed all of 2010 with a torn pectoral, but returned last season and posted an NFL leading 116 solo tackles (158 total) to go along with 3.5 sacks. It's actually the second time in his career that he's led the NFL in tackles. He will be 29 this year and the injuries are a concern. As I said, he missed all of 2010 with a torn pectoral, but also missed most of 2009 with a shoulder injury. He's not super fast, so there's chance he's better suited to being an ILB in a 3-4 than a 4-3.
London Fletcher - Led the league in total tackles this year and has been one of the all around most productive and consistent MIKE LBs in the league for years now. Of course, therein lies the problem. He will be 37 in May and while he really didn't show much of a sign of slowing down last year, there's always a risk with a guy that up in years. Plus, he's at best a one, maybe two year stop gap. He'd certainly stop the hell out of that gap though.