In the past, the Eagles haven’t always made the roster moves that we’d expect them to. With the NFL Lockout currently in place, free agency has yet to begin, so we don’t know for sure who the Eagles will bring back and who they will let go.
With the play of Jamar Chaney last season, early projections are that he’ll move into the starting linebacker position while Stewart Bradley will be moved outside. However, Bradley is scheduled to be a free agent.
All indications point to the Eagles bringing Bradley back, but like I said, you never know with the Eagles.
Over the last few years, the Eagles have brought in a lot of young linebackers. Last year, they drafted Chaney and Keenan Clayton. This year, they brought in three more linebackers: Casey Matthews, Brian Rolle, and Greg Lloyd.
In the past two seasons, Bradley has suffered a few injuries. He missed the 2009 season with an ACL injury suffered during the annual Eagles Flight Night event. He spent the entire year rehabbing and returned in 2010. In the first regular season game, he suffered a concussion, which caused him to miss the next game.
He played in every game after that until he dislocated his elbow in Week 14. This ended up being the last game he’d play for the year, and the point that Chaney began to shine.
When Bradley was healthy, he played very inconsistently. At times, we saw him play very strongly. Much like the form we saw in 2008, where we began to think he was the next big thing for the Eagles defense. However, we also saw Bradley struggle at times.
Keeping that in mind, could the Eagles think about planting one of these young guys in Bradley’s spot and letting him walk? If they would have taken a linebacker earlier in the draft, we could have assumed so, but it’s hard to tell.
If they let Bradley go, they still have Moise Fokou who started in the SAM position last year. This would mean there would likely be an open competition for WILL position as Ernie Sims should be leaving town. Clayton, Matthews, and Rolle would be the likely contenders.
I think all three have a lot of potential and could definitely be starters in the future, but it may be a lot to ask out of such young players.
Will the Eagles end up letting Bradley go? Truthfully, I don’t think they will. However, I can’t say with absolute certainty that he’ll be re-signed.