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Eagles place Jatavis Brown on reserve/retired list

The free agent LB curse continues.

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

The Philadelphia Eagles placed linebacker Jatavis Brown on the reserve/retired list, according to an official announcement from the team.

The Eagles originally signed Brown, 26, back around when free agency began in March. Here’s what we wrote about his outlook heading into training camp:

Brown comes to the Eagles on a minimum contract after logging 23 starts in 56 games played with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers. A film breakdown by my BGN Radio co-host Jimmy Kempski shows Brown really struggled in 2019. That sentiment lines up with what one Chargers writer told BGN about Brown’s poor tackling and such. Brown’s athleticism, game experience, and special teams ability could make him worth keeping around but he’s no lock to stick around. He’ll have to earn his spot on the team.

Well, so much for that.

It’s unclear if the coronavirus pandemic had any bearing on Brown’s decision to retire but it’s worth noting that he didn’t choose to opt out ahead of Thursday afternoon’s deadline.

In any case, Brown is gone. He becomes just the latest Eagles veteran linebacker signing to not pan out for Philly. The Eagles signed Corey Nelson on the first day of free agency in 2018 and he was released well ahead of final cuts. 2019 signings L.J. Fort and Zach Brown were terminated during the season last year, with the former going on to earn a starting job and contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens. Philly could afford to have him back.

With Brown out of the picture, the Eagles have the following linebackers under contract for 2020: Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley, Alex Singleton, and Dante Olson. That’s a lot of youth there with Singleton being the oldest guy at 26 ... and he’s not even a lock to make the team.

Gerry is likely to lead all Eagles linebackers in snaps played this year given how the coaching staff values him. Edwards and Riley figure to see the most playing time behind him. Taylor’s intriguing due to his athleticism but he’s an admittedly raw and inexperienced rookie. Bradley is a sixth-round pick and Olson is an undrafted free agent; it’s hard to expect much from them. Singleton might top out as a backup and special teams contributor.

Brown probably wasn’t going to make or break the Eagles’ linebacker outlook but it’s not great to be losing a player at a position that was already so thin. It remains to be seen if the Eagles will now try to sign another veteran. We know that Nigel Bradham isn’t an option since he recently signed with the New Orleans Saints.

In other news, the Carolina Panthers claimed former Eagles defensive tackle Bruce Hector on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles officially waived Hector on Friday evening. The Panthers notably have a couple of former Eagles executives in their front office so there could be a connection there.

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