The Eagles NEED to re-sign Bennie Logan and you should feel bad if you don’t agree

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

[Editor's note: Promoted from the FanPosts.]

Full disclosure: I currently attend LSU, so I guess you could say I have a somewhat vested interest in maximum Tigers on my pro team roster. However, I was an Eagles fan long before becoming a Tiger, so know that this is very low on the list of reasons I want Logan on the squad.

Note: Like all of my fanposts, this is long and detailed (but this time it’s got pictures!) If you have a short attention span and/or just want the bottom line, there’s a tl;dr at the end.

The Eagles re-signed Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson already, and unfortunately since nobody from the 2014 NFL Draft deserves an early extension, the Eagles’ biggest in-house decision to make this offseason is that of Bennie Logan. If you’re reading BGN you almost certainly know the basics about Bennie, so I’m not going to bore you with the basics. What I AM going to break down is why the Eagles' biggest free agency priority should be preventing Bennie from hitting the market, and why the best bang for their buck would come from keeping their homegrown, young, talented DT.

What Bennie Logan Brings To The Table

- Great run stuffer

I’m not gonna to bury the lede here -- the primary value Bennie brings in any situation is his run stuffing prowess. Logan is the prototypical "lunchpail" defensive lineman who is happy to bang with guards and centers for 60 minutes while pass rushers stuff the sexy stat sheet. This was his calling card at LSU, and his player profile has largely remained the same in the pros.

Logan’s proficiency against the run can be quantified a few ways. If you’re an adherent to the church of PFF, they’re big fans of Logan; he’s consistently ranked near the top of their proprietary run stop percentage stat:

"Bennie Logan is the fourth-best DT in the NFL against the run (+12.5 run grade) and leads the league in PFF stop percentage with 25 stops in 163 snaps."

In their 2013 re-draft they even picked Logan in the late first round (with the caveat that the 2013 draft was one of the weakest in modern history).

Quantifying a DT’s effectiveness via tackles can be murky since sometimes they’re just holding a gap to force a cutback so the LB can make a play, but it still provides a tool to measure effectiveness. How does Logan stack up against some of the league’s "gold standard" run-stuffers through the first four full-time years of their careers? (all stats from Pro Football Reference)

Solo tackles

Assists on tackles

Average total tackles/year

Bennie Logan




Damon Harrison




Linval Joseph




Calais Campbell




Michael Brockers




Logan’s stats are comparable to this high company, and are actually better than his more highly drafted LSU brother Mike Brockers.

We could probably crunch some more numbers, but let’s qualify his superior run defense through everyone’s favorite thing: gifs! (I don’t have any way to rewatch games, so unfortunately I’ll have to rely on other’s pre-made gifs)

This is the first of a few I’ll show from Fran Duffy’s excellent tape grinding. This play is from the second 2016 Washington game, and shows what I mean about Logan sometimes doing his job very well but not even getting the glory of a recorded tackle. Here Washington is running a zone blocking stretch concept. Logan forces the RB to cut back by jacking his man directly into the RB’s path, and Cox disengages his blocker and finishes the play.


Here’s one from the 2014 Panthers game, so Bennie is directly over the center instead of 1-tech he plays now and at LSU. On this play, Logan is iso’d with all-pro C Ryan Kalil, and the LG does a good job of getting to the second level and wiping out Casey Matthews. If Logan doesn’t stack and shed Kalil and then make the tackle, Malcolm Jenkins will be trying to make a solo tackle on Jonathan Stewart with a head of steam. However, this is why Logan should be paid the big bucks (by the Eagles!)-he uses great leverage to get under Kalil’s pads and stands him up, and then throws him aside at the right moment. He does this play after play.


One more, just because it’s not an Eagles article if we don’t make fun of Dallas at least once. This is the first play from the infamous 2014 "Thanksgiving massacre", and Logan had made headlines by saying "there’s nothing special" about The Greatly Overrated Wall of Dallas.

With this bulletin board material in hand, Dallas tries to set the tone on first down with their 2014 bread and butter, the stretch run. Like everything for Dallas on that wonderful day, it didn’t go well. On this play, Logan gets double teamed in space by all-pros Zack Martin and Travis Frederick, and manages to force both of them into DeMarco Murray’s stupid face, blowing up the play. If you think it’s easy or even moderately difficult to replace this level of strength, balance, and are mistaken.

- Versatility

Coming out of college, many people assumed Logan lacked the size to two-gap, much less play nose tackle for a 3-4. This from a Scouts Inc./ESPN guy named Gary Horton:

"Versus the run: Not a massive space-eater. Will fight hard vs. double team but rarely is able to hold ground or split. Lacks lead in trunk. Will never be a good two-gap defender in NFL. "

Welp. Logan has bounced back and forth between 4-3 1-tech in college and 2016, and 3-4 0-tech (and rarely 5-tech) in the pros, and excelled in both one and two-gapping schemes. Even though he lacks prototypical mass to play the nose, his combination of lower body strength, understanding of leverage, and hand placement means he rarely gets moved off his spot, even against the double teams NTs frequently see. Now Schwartz is fairly parochial in regards to his defensive line, preferring a very basic 7/9 DE, 1/3 DT alignment, but the optionality never hurts (especially since some of us believe Schwartz may not be long for the team).

- Solid pass rush/underrated athleticism

If there’s one area Logan frequently gets dinged on, it’s that he’s not a plus pass rusher by any means. I don’t have access to PFF hits/hurries (but for what it’s worth, they rank him 25th in the league in defensive tackle pass rushing productivity), but his raw sack totals are lackluster, compared to the same players above over their first four starting seasons:



Bennie Logan


Damon Harrison


Linval Joseph


Calais Campbell


Michael Brockers


I personally feel this perceived lack of pass rushing sizzle is due more to scheme than talent, because if there’s one thing Bennie doesn’t get enough credit for IMO, it’s his athleticism, as seen in this play:


This is again from that great Thanksgiving 2014 game. This is a stretch play to the right, and Logan starts the play by high-stepping the chop-blocking left guard. He keeps with the play and runs Murray down from behind, with some assistance from Brandon Graham. This is the advantage of Logan being relatively light in the butt for a run stuffer; he can move both in space and in a phone booth much better than players like Big Snacks.


This is a clip from JimmyK, specifically when we were the preseason champions of the universe prior to the awful 2015 season.Even though this is a run play that Logan destroys in the backfield instead of a QB, it highlights a very quick first step that he rarely gets to utilize because he’s usually tasked more with holding blockers than shooting gaps.

- Durability

As dearest Lane Johnson has reminded us, availability is the best ability. Bennie has been available for 59 of his 64 games, which comes out to 92%. He never missed time in college either, if you want to go even further back. If you’re gonna pay a guy a boatload of dough (and yes, Bennie will not come cheap), he’d better be in pads more or less every Sunday, and there’s no reason to believe that won’t be the case with Logan.

- Great character and effort

It’s a fairly well known trivia fact among Eagles players that Bennie wore the prestigious number 18 jersey at LSU, which is awarded to the best teammate/role model on the squad (most recently worn by Tre White). By all accounts, Logan has been a great teammate and model citizen during both college and pro stints, and rewarding both his excellent play and off-field ideals would go a long way towards establishing a winning culture (stop rolling your eyes).

I do want to point out that Logan’s commitment to doing whatever he can to help the team is evident on tape as well:

Once the play gets this far down the field, most defensive linemen, much less DTs, will just quit or at most break into a half-hearted jog. But nope, that’s Big Bennie chasing a RB down from behind in the open field to stop the bleeding. These are the intangibles that separate Logan from a DT who could fill 75% of his shoes.

Why The Eagles Need Logan

- Adds to team’s core identity

One of the reasons the marriage between Jim Schwartz and the Eagles seemed destined for greatness is because the team is loaded at DL and Schwartz prioritizes high level DL play above all other units. What I feel like some people forget sometimes is you can’t just get a unit playing at a high level and then assume they’ll maintain that ad infinitum-you absolutely need to keep investing in that unit if they’re expected to be the engine that runs your team. Dallas will almost certainly be paying Zack Martin big bucks soon, despite the fact that you could make an argument the line would still be pretty damn good with an average RG in between Frederick and Free. Which brings me to...

- Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight

If I had to summarize the reason why keeping Logan is important in one sentence, this would be it: if North Korea is your country’s next door neighbor, you probably shouldn’t skimp on nuclear deterrence.

Like it or not the Cowboys are favorites to win the division next year, and despite the consistently inconsistent history of NFCE champions since the Eagles ran the division in the mid-00s, they will almost certainly be in the running for division champ year in and year out. This from Dave’s DT position review:

"He [Logan] was a strong run defender, in the three and a half games his missed, the Eagles gave up 4.5 yards per carry, in the 12.5 games he played, 4.1, a solid but not great rate. "

It’s true Bennie had a somewhat down year relative to his first three this season, but considering 4 YPC is the approximate separating line between an effective and ineffective rushing offense, it should be heartening that 4.1 is his floor. The reality of playing Dallas twice a year is that if you can’t stop their run game, you’re not gonna beat them, and if you don’t beat them, you’ve got long odds of winning the division.

Why There Are No Better Options

- Underwhelming internal replacement options

Most conversations I have regarding Logan with other Eagles fans go something like: "well I’d love if they could keep him, but he’ll probably be expensive...we could replace him with [X draft pick/free agent/current roster player] and spend the money at bigger positions of need!" Since I’m 7 pages into a "resign Bennie Logan" fanpost, you can obviously guess I disagree. While I think it’s certainly possible to replace his production (I explained above why you don’t want to only replace a fraction of his production), I do think it would cost more than it would to just resign him.

I won’t say much more about the current roster options other than they’re not good enough. Beau showed the "Ryan Mathews effect" as a backup, where he spelled Logan for some snaps and looked good enough to start, so people assumed a swap would be possible. The problem is we saw Beau start this year and it coincided with a notable dropoff in run defense, just like Mathews is great coming off the bench for 5-10 snaps but inevitably breaks/fumbles/both when he’s taking 25-30 per game. Playing whole games is hard! I can’t honestly say I’ve exhaustively watched Destiny Vaeao’s tape, but he seems like a solid rotational guy, not a starter.

- Free agency/NFL Draft is a crapshoot

But wait, there are other avenues for replacing Logan: free agency and the draft! Well, since we’re being thorough here, let’s take a quick look at free agent DTs who fit our Logan criteria (young, good run stuffer, 4-3 compatible):

-Dontari Poe

-Sylvester Williams

-Kawann Short

-Johnathan Hankins

Other than Williams (who is an inferior version of Logan), all of those guys will probably be more expensive than Logan, due to their better pass rushing output. So not only would we be rolling the dice with all the normal free agent concerns (scheme fit, team fit, get paid syndrome, etc), but we’d be paying more to boot. Not ideal.

How about the draft? Don’t tell me you need to spend a first to replace Logan, because he was a third round pick after all, right? Well...this may be a copout, but make your case for a surefire draft pick to replace Logan’s production in the comments. I’m not a draftnik so I won’t claim to be able to verify this, but I have talked to some of my more draft-obsessed friends who have told me that last year’s draft was the year of the DT, with a pretty big drop in prospects this year. Ultimately, the draft is a dice roll anyhow, where even the most "can’t miss" prospects can crash and burn. I’m gonna go with another platitude here, but Logan is the bird in our hand, while the draft is the bush. We haven’t been a good enough drafting team yet to confidently say we can replace his production without using more resources than we’d be investing in re-upping his deal.

Alright, I’m sold, but everyone says we can’t afford him. Isn’t that true?

I’ve noticed a lot of Eagles fans being melodramatic about our cap situation, because we only have about $10 mil worth of space right now. As our friends in Arlington would say, WE’RE TOTALLY NOT IN CAP HELL GUYS (but for us, it’s actually true). Let’s take a stab at what our cap situation looks like once I project some cap-saving actions:

- Restructure Jason Peters to more guaranteed money in 2018, lower cap hit in 2017 ($5 mil savings)

- Trade Connor Barwin for whatever ($8 mil savings)

- Trade Mychal Kendricks (save $2 mil)

- Cut Jason Kelce (save $4 mil)

- Cut Brent Celek (save $1 mil)

With those major moves, minus the ~$5 million the team will need to sign the draft class, that gives us about 25 million to play with. You can nitpick the specifics, but I’m painting in broad strokes here.

So what could we expect to pay for Logan?

Fortunately, Over the Cap has done the heavy lifting for me.

You can argue the specifics, but they estimate Logan will get around 4 years, $7 mil AAV. Front loading the deal like Howie likes might make for a tight cap this year, but is very doable (and the Eagles shouldn’t be spending like drunken sailors in free agency anyhow). It would probably make more sense to go light this year and put most of the hit in 2018, when the Eagles unfortunately won’t really have to worry about resigning big names from the class of 2014 (and only Hicks as the likely candidate for a "Howie special" extend-ASAP deal).

Ultimately, the biggest factor is the Eagles won’t have to pay Wentz franchise QB money until 2019 at minimum, so it’s critical they take advantage of this competitive window of high level QB play and relative cap freedom to sign difference makers. We know Logan is a force against the run, we know he fits and his durable, and we know we need to be stout against the run in our division (to say nothing of strong running playoff teams like Carolina, Atlanta, and Seattle) -- don’t overthink this and pay the damn man!


Bennie Logan is a badass run defender, a durable player, an underrated athlete, and a homegrown talented Eagles player. To compete in the NFCE you need to deal with Dallas, and you’re screwed if you can’t defend the run. The Eagles absolutely have the cap space to resign Logan and still have room left over, so they shouldn’t be penny-wise, pound-foolish by letting him walk.