With injuries affecting their linebackers, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to bring in a few free agents for tryouts in case they’re needed. The three linebackers brought in by the Eagles were Donald Butler, Jelani Jenkins and Sean Spence.
The main concern for Eagles’ fans is Jordan Hicks, the team’s starting middle linebacker. In the Thursday Night Football game last week against the Carolina Panthers, Hicks had to leave early on because of an ankle injury. This marks the second time this season that he has had ankle problems, with the first occurring in week three during a game against the Giants.
The good news is that the rest of the linebackers picked up the slack when Hicks went out. Mychal Kendricks piled up 27 tackles, and Nigel Bradham added 10 of his own. Bradham dealt with an injury of his own during the game against the Panthers, but it only kept him out for a few snaps.
Head coach Doug Pederson mentioned recently that Hicks will be fine and that the team expects him to practice this week. Still, the team has clearly decided to potentially bolster its group of linebackers.
Of the three linebackers who came in for tryouts, Butler is definitely the most accomplished. He stands 6’1 and weighs 244 pounds, and the San Diego Chargers (now the Los Angeles Chargers) picked him in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He put up solid numbers, playing 71 games, starting 62 and racking up 279 tackles. However, his play got worse after he signed a large contract with the team, and there were even accusations of him quitting, leading to the Chargers cutting him in 2016. Last season, he played with the Miami Dolphins but only had 17 tackles.
Jelani Jenkins is 6’ and 243 pounds. The Dolphins took him in the fourth round during the 2014 NFL Draft. He has played in 53 games, starting 34, and accumulated 163 tackles. His main problems have been health-related.
At 5’11 and 231 pounds, Sean Spence is the smallest of the bunch. He was a third-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012, and he played in 49 games, starting 19. He made 97 tackles.
None of these players look like gamechangers at this point, but they could provide depth if necessary. Of course, the team is hoping that Hicks can remain healthy and the rest of the linebackers continue their excellent play.