It hasn’t been the most action-packed week for the Philadelphia Eagles. Especially compared to the major draft trade they made weeks ago. Most likely, the Eagles front office is laser-focused on the 2021 NFL Draft. That being said, there were some moves made that have some interesting implications on the season to come.
Eagles Sign LB Eric Wilson
The Eagles signed former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson to a one-year deal worth $3.25 million on Tuesday. Wilson was a solid contributor for the Vikings last season, totaling 87 solo tackles, four sacks and had three interceptions, which was tied for first at his position. Wilson is still fairly young, just 26, with last year his first as a full-time starter. Besides Alex Singleton, who broke out in 2020, the rest of the linebacking spots needed help.
Wilson replaces Duke Riley, who the Eagles let go to the Miami Dolphins after he suffered a season-ending injury. While Wilson wasn’t great against the run last year, he had a solid grade in coverage. For the Eagles, who have an elite run-stuffing line, that’s perfect. Does this preclude the Eagles from drafting someone like Micah Parsons? Not necessarily, but it is less of a need than it was before.
Eagles Bring Back RB Jordan Howard
Jordan Howard may have been a disaster for the Dolphins, but he was pretty solid for the Birds in 2019. He was a steadier runner than the more boom-or-bust approach of Miles Sanders. He can also be used as an effective goal-line back if nothing else. It’s a different situation than before, with Sanders now the sure-fire primary back, but he gives the Eagles a different look at running back if they need it. He also can be a solid replacement (based on how he looked in 2019) if Sanders was ever to go down. The Eagles still don’t really trust Sanders to have 20+ carries per game, so a strong backup is needed.
The full deal hasn’t been revealed, but I can’t imagine the one-year deal will pay anything extreme. Anything much over $1 million would be a surprise. Howard is still just 26 and, while his body isn’t the epitome of youthful health and energy, if he can just perform like in 2019, that’s perfectly okay.
Gym Shorts Finds a New Job
It turns out Jim Schwartz’s vacation won’t be too long at all. He was hired by the Tennessee Titans as a Senior Defensive Assistant on Tuesday. He must have really wanted out of Philadelphia, which is somewhat telling of the front office situation. At the same time, Schwartz’s scheme was wearing a bit thin. It’s also nice for new head coach Nick Sirianni to pick his own staff. To be fair to Schwartz as well, it seems that this role will be a lower commitment/consultant-type job. He won’t be asked to work nearly as long/hard as a real coach, so it’s still vacation, kind of.
While he ended his tenure on a low, let’s not forget how good Schwartz was for the Birds. The Eagles’ total defensive talent pool has never been great (except on the line), but Schwartz did really well with what he had. When he was hired in 2016, the Eagles were the 28th-ranked defense in points allowed and 30th in yards allowed the year prior. He immediately got the team to 12th and 13th in those categories, respectively. Then, his pièce de résistance in 2017, where he led the Birds to top-five finish defensively, the first time the Eagles hit that goal since the legendary Jim Johnson was defensive coordinator. As we all know, the Eagles won their first Super Bowl that year, and Schwartz’s defense was a major contributor.