The Eagles are reportedly “poking around at linebacker”: Here are a few that make sense

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.

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

Cashman was a Jets fifth-round pick in 2019 who has very good athleticism:

Cashman struggled with injuries early in his career but is having a good season for the Texans. The Eagles’ current linebackers have all been good against the run, but Cashman would give them a linebacker who has been particularly good in coverage this season.

The Texans have improved significantly this season but are 3-4, which puts them 2.5 games behind the Jaguars in the AFC South. Even if they were a little closer to Jacksonville, this is obviously not a Super Bowl contender, even though they may be heading in the right direction. Cashman is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason, so they may be able to secure a Day 3 pick for him now as well.

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.

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
103 70 14 9 1

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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