UPDATE: The Philadelphia Eagles officially released Nigel Bradham instead of merely just declining his 2020 option. This means Bradham is now free to sign with any team as opposed to having to wait until free agency begins on March 18.
In the past, declining a player’s option — as opposed to outright cutting them — still made them eligible to count towards a team’s compensatory pick formula. That loophole has since closed, according to Over The Cap. Thus, Bradham wouldn’t have counted towards the Eagles’ comp pick formula even if they didn’t release him. And Howie Roseman might easily be too active in free agency to collect comp picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, anyway.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.
This news should hardly come as a shock. I mean, I literally just wrote about this possibility earlier today.
Option declined: $4.5 million saved ($5.3 million dead money)
The Eagles have until March 17 to exercise Bradham’s $8 million base salary option for the 2020 season. The guess here is that the team will decline to pick it up.
Bradham was a valued contributor to the Eagles’ Super Bowl success in 2017 but he hasn’t been as good the past two seasons. Bradham has one interception (on a tipped ball), zero forced fumbles, and two sacks in his last 30 games (including playoffs). He’s hardly been a play-maker.
Further, Bradham turns 31 in September. His best football is behind him. It’s hard to see the Eagles keeping him around as the player with the seventh highest cap figure on the team.
Howie Roseman talked about the Eagles needing to get younger and moving on from Bradham jibes with that sentiment.
So, yeah, not surprising.
But definitely noteworthy. Bradham logged 64 starts (including playoffs) for the Eagles after originally signing with Philly back in 2016. He was a quality starting linebacker for the team prior to his performance slipping.
With Kamu Grugier-Hill expected to join another team in free agency, the Eagles are now left with the following linebackers under contract for 2020: Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, and Alex Singleton. Gerry and Edwards have had some flashes but that group does not offer much in terms of proven talent.
Needless to say, the Eagles will need to acquire another starting linebacker (or two) this offseason. Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton are among free agent options to watch. The Eagles could also look to add a linebacker via the 2020 NFL Draft; just don’t expect them to do it with the No. 21 overall pick.
As for Bradham, he should be able to catch on with another team. Maybe he could even return to Philly at a much less expensive cap number, not dissimilar to what happened with Timmy Jernigan and Stefen Wisniewski last year. But the Eagles shouldn’t be counting on that. They should be looking to get younger and more talented at linebacker.