Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles filled a void last week with a trade for Kevin Byard, formerly of the Tennessee Titans. They’re not done yet, according to Dianna Russini of The Athletic, who reports that the Eagles are “poking around” at linebacker.
The Eagles are looking to take another step even after adding safety and five-time Titans captain Kevin Byard. I expect Howie Roseman will be busy Monday morning. He pokes around at linebacker.
– Dianna Russini (@DMRussini) October 29, 2023
At linebacker, Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham have exceeded modest expectations, while Nakobe Dean only played in four games due to injury. Typically, the Eagles don’t like to spend valuable draft resources on linebacker, whether through the draft itself or through trades.
The Eagles received enough play from their linebackers. So if they do actually add one at the trade deadline, it would probably have to be a player who (a) is clearly an improvement over what they already have and (b) isn’t expensive. A trade similar to the one they made for Byard — a few Day 2 picks and a backup player they no longer needed — would make sense.
Some linebackers that make sense for the Eagles:
Zaire Franklin (27, 6’0, 235), Colts
Franklin, like Byard, is from the Philadelphia area and, if you recall this summer, was involved in a scuffle at the Eagles and Colts’ joint practice. He signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Colts in the 2022 offseason and is under contract through 2024.
After eight weeks, Franklin leads the NFL with 102 tackles and is a tough, violent player. At 27, he’s probably a better fit for a contender than a rebuilding team for the Colts, who also lost their starting quarterback this season.
Blake Cashman (27, 6’2, 235), Texans
Jeremy Chinn (25, 6’3, 220), Panthers
We’ve already covered Chinn extensively here (sorry for the repetition), but he somehow disappeared from the radar of Eagles fans when he suffered a quadriceps injury that could keep him out until around early December.
The Panthers’ Jeremy Chinn has a serious quadriceps injury that is expected to sideline him for up to six weeks, according to league sources. Chinn does not require surgery, but he is also in the final year of his contract and is scheduled to be a free agent after this season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 18, 2023
If you recall, Chinn is the player the Eagles would have selected in the second round of the 2020 draft had they not taken Jalen Hurts, and he is a player the Eagles sniffed out per league before he was injured, per source .
According to PFF, Chinn’s snaps so far this season have been broken down as follows:
|slot||Boxing safety||Outside corner||edge||Deep security|
As you can see, he plays almost exclusively near the line of scrimmage, making him more or less a linebacker, even though he is listed as a safety. You don’t want Chinn covering fast receivers, but he can run with tight ends. He is also physical in run support and can blitz:
I wouldn’t consider Chinn to be a starter on the Eagles’ defense, but he could be a versatile sub who could cost very little to acquire via trade. They’d just have to wait a while for him to play, but for a team heading into the playoffs (spoiler), the games in January mean more than the games in November.
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