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Chris Long, Eagles sign two-year contract

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NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles have OFFICIALLY signed free agent defensive end Chris Long to a two-year contract. Crossing Broad first hinted at this news out of the blue and then NFL insider Mike Garafolo basically confirmed it.

This signing comes as a bit of a surprise. Sure, the Eagles needed more defensive end depth after cutting Connor Barwin, but one would think Philadelphia would be looking to get younger at the position. Long turned 32 years old today on March 28 (happy birthday, Chris). This kind of goes against Howie Roseman’s “bandaid” comment he made earlier this offseason.

Long has played nine seasons since being selected by the Rams with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He played eight of those seasons with St. Louis before signing with the Patriots on a one-year deal last season. Long logged seven starts in 16 games with New England in 2016. He had 22 tackles, four sacks, three pass deflections, and one forced fumble.

Long gives the Eagles more depth at a position of need. Brandon Graham is locked in at one starting defensive end spot but it’s not 100% clear who the other starter will be. One would assume it would be Vinny Curry after the Eagles gave him a big contract extension last offseason, but the team only trusted him to play 40% of the team’s snaps in 2016. The Eagles are also reportedly targeting a defensive lineman with the No. 14 overall pick, according to the same person who broke this Long story (Kyle Scott of Crossing Broad).

Long played 60% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps in 2016. It remains to be seen how often the Eagles will use him.