What Reggie White meant to Haloti Ngata

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What Reggie White meant to Haloti Ngata

Haloti Ngata has worn jersey No. 92 his entire 12-year NFL career — nine years with the Ravens, three years with the Lions.

That's 184 games wearing the same number.

That obviously has to change.

The Eagles retired Reggie White's famed No. 92 jersey in 2005, a year after he died.

White, who spent the 1985 through 1992 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Eagles, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, his first year of eligibility.

So 92 goes, and that's fine with Ngata.

"I'll never take 92 here, but he is one of my idols," Ngata said Thursday, after signing a one-year deal with the Eagles.

"Reggie White is the reason why I chose 92, and it is so cool to be here and see 92 everywhere."

As he spoke, Ngata pointed over to the giant Reggie White mural adorning the wall of the auditorium at the NovaCare Complex.

Ngata is 34 and was in high school when White played his final season, in 2000 with the Panthers. Ngata said he never met White but followed his career since he was a kid.

"I love the way he played but mainly the man he was off the field," Ngata said. "Very humbling, God-fearing man. Just loved him.

"He's a great example, and that's what I wanted to be. Be a great football player but also a great person off the field."

Ngata is a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro defensive tackle. White made 13 straight Pro Bowls from 1986 through 1998 and was an eight-time All-Pro.

The Eagles retired White's 92 and Jerome Brown's 99, so the only numbers available in the 90s are 90 and 91 and 93 through 98.

When Ngata arrived in Philadelphia, he learned 91 (Fletcher Cox), 93 (former teammate Tim Jernigan), 95 (Mychal Kendricks), 96 (Derek Barnett), 97 (Destiny Vaeao) and 98 (Elijah Qualls) were taken.

"So there were two numbers — 90 and 94 (available)," he said. "So I texted my kids real quick and they said 94. So I think I'm going to be 94."

Nigel Bradham contract is actually extremely team-friendly

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Nigel Bradham contract is actually extremely team-friendly

Howie did it again.

The Nigel Bradham contract — widely reported as a five-year, $40 million deal — in reality, is an extremely team-friendly deal that gives the Eagles tremendous flexibility depending on whether they want to keep the veteran linebacker after this coming season.

The contract could be as little as a one-year, $6 million deal if the Eagles decide to move on from Bradham after the 2018 season.

According to a league source familiar with the deal, it contains only $6 million in truly guaranteed components — a $5 million signing bonus and Bradham's fully guaranteed 2018 base salary of $1 million.

The remaining base salaries are $8 million each in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and $10 million in 2022. But the last three years of base salary aren't guaranteed at all, and only $2 million of the $8 million base in 2019 is guaranteed.

And according to the source, that $2 million offsets if Bradham signs with another team after the Eagles release him. 

So if the Eagles release Bradham after the 2018 season and he signs a contract worth at least $2 million with another team, that $2 million is no longer the Eagles' responsibility. If the new contract is less than $2 million — not likely — then the amount of the deal would offset and the remainder would count against the Eagles' cap.

If the full $2 million were to offset, the only part of the contract that would accelerate into dead money would be the remaining prorated four years of the signing bonus, or $4 million.

So the Eagles would see a $5 million cap savings if they choose to release Bradham after one year — the difference between his $9 million cap figure and $4 million in dead money.

The Eagles hold options on the final three years of the contract, so if they release Bradham after the 2020 season it's a two-year, $14 million deal with only $3 million in dead money.

The Eagles have a lot of unknowns at linebacker — Jordan Hicks' health, Mychal Kendricks' future — so having a contract with Bradham that gives the Eagles flexibility is huge.

Bradham will have a cap figure of just $2 million in 2018, and if he's here beyond this coming season his cap figures will be $9 million in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and $11 million in 2022. 

The dead money hit would be $4 million in 2018 and decrease by $1 million per year — $3 million after 2019, $2 million after 2020 and $1 million after 2021.

Nigel Bradham's payday proof Eagles were right to stand by him

Nigel Bradham's payday proof Eagles were right to stand by him

The first arrest, for aggravated assault, came in July 2016 at a Miami hotel. The second, at Miami Airport, was four months later — a misdemeanor concealed weapons charge.

Nigel Bradham didn’t like the way his life was going, and he decided to do something about it.

“Obviously, I went through some things and made some changes and got things right, figured it out,” Bradham said Thursday, after officially signing his five-year, $40 million contract with the Eagles.

“And I knew what I had to do and luckily for me I had an organization that stuck with me and was able to stand by me during that whole process and I was able to overcome it.”

What changed?

“Just looking at myself and probably some of the people I was around and things like that,” he said. “Just taking a step back and realizing, ‘Why is all this happening?’

“Obviously, I’m a good guy and I’m really laid back and really chill, but some things were just going different for me, and I can’t really say exactly what it was, but I made some changes and it ended up working out for the better. ...

“I set goals to overcome it. I was doing things, trying to help youth, things like that, pretty much just to show them [who I was]. Everybody goes through something. It’s not just all glory. 

“But I’m here today, and I overcame that and I feel like you go through adversity sometimes but that’s life and that’s what it’s all about.”

Bradham, 28, signed with the Eagles in March 2016, so he was still relatively new here when his arrests occurred. 

There was some thought the Eagles would release him or suspend him back in the fall of 2016, but the Eagles stuck with him, and he wound up playing well that year and then had an exceptional season and postseason in 2017 for the Super Bowl champions.

That earned him a new contract that makes him the NFL’s 22nd-highest-paid linebacker and the eighth-highest-paid member of the Eagles based on average annual salary. (A closer look at the deal, though, shows it's actually extremely friendly to the Eagles.)

Bradham said the fact the Eagles stuck with him during some very difficult times had a lot to do with his desire to stay in Philly.

“It was huge, man,” he said. “Because they always believed in me. Throughout that whole process, people were saying all kinds of stuff, suspensions, all kinds of stuff, and the organization just really backed me up.

“[They said] pretty much, ‘No matter what happens, we’re going to stand by you,’ and it shows.

“This organization means everything to me. That shows loyalty and that’s something a lot of teams don’t have and it separates us, and I feel like that’s why we had the success we had last year. 

“A lot of the small things a lot of other organizations don’t do, this organization does.”