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Hey, the Eagles signed a linebacker

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Needed one of those.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles are signing free agent linebacker Jatavis Brown to a one-year contract, according to sports agent Drew Rosenhaus (via Adam Schefter).

Brown, who turned 26 in February, was originally selected by the then-San Diego Chargers with a fifth-round pick (No. 175 overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. BGN’s Benjamin Solak notes he was a “box safety/weakside linebacker hybrid player” at the University of Akron.

Brown made 22 starts in 43 games played with the Chargers over first three seasons. He logged 255 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 12 passes defensed, 4.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles during that span. Despite his production, Brown saw less playing time in 2019 after the Bolts signed veteran linebacker Thomas Davis.

The Eagles had an obvious need at linebacker after releasing Nigel Bradham and letting Kamu Grugier-Hill leave in free agency. The only four players under contract at the position were: Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, and Alex Singleton.

Adding Brown gives the Eagles a player who potentially profiles as Grugier-Hill replacement. If he doesn’t end up being one of the team’s two primary starters at linebacker he could at least be a rotational role player on defense. Brown seemingly fits the mold that Jim Schwartz values given the player’s hybrid linebacker/safety experience. In addition to his defensive contributions, Brown also figures to help out on special teams.

Howie Roseman has struck out on free agent linebacker signings in recent years. The Eagles signed Corey Nelson to a contract with some guaranteed money on the first day in free agency in 2018 but he didn’t even make the 53-man roster. The Eagles signed L.J. Fort early in free agency last year and he didn’t even play a single defensive snap for the team prior to being released. Fort then went on to play well for the Baltimore Ravens ... and earn a contract extension from them. The Eagles also signed Zach Brown last year and he was cut during the season after making some dumb comments about Kirk Cousins that blew up in his face.

Will the Jatavis Brown signing end up bucking the trend or will he join the list of previous free agent flops?

Spider graph via Mockdraftable. Brown is small but strong and fast:


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