2020 NFL Free Agency: Top 10 free agent linebackers
With Nigel Bradham gone, the Eagles' linebacker position is basically getting a full face-lift this offseason. Here are some names to keep an eye on as free agency begins.
(All images USA Today Sports Images)
10. Jon Bostic
2019 Stats: 1 INT, 1.0 sack, 3 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $805K base, $735K cap hit
After playing for five teams across six seasons, Jon Bostic is probably dreaming of stability. He started 16 games in 2019 for the first time in his career, and while he won't change a defense, he finished second among Washington defenders in tackles. It sounds like Washington wants him back, and he's more of a depth option than a top-tier target, but Bostic is still a name worth watching when free agency begins.
9. Alec Ogletree
2019 Stats: 1 INT, 1.0 sack, 4 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $4M base, $11.75M cap hit
I feel like Alec Ogletree has been in the NFL for decades, but he'll be 28 when the 2020 season begins. He's flashed playmaking ability in individual seasons - 10 forced fumbles in his first two seasons, 5 INT in 2018 - but hasn't consistently reached those heights. He was an expensive roster member in 2019, and won't be appealing to the Eagles at that number, but at a more affordable price tag he could be... interesting.
8. Danny Trevathan
2019 Stats: 1 fumble forced, 1.0 sack, 2 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $5.8M base, $7.65M cap hit
Trevathan only played nine games in 2019, a bummer since it came after his best season with the Bears, but this could help his next team. Trevathan turns 30 in late March, and could be had on a cheaper-than-usual deal considering his proven track record as a sound tackler and occasional playmaker. His durability might be a question mark, but there are far worse options out there.
7. De'Vondre Campbell
2019 Stats: 2 INT, 3 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovered, 2.0 sacks, 6 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $2.025M base, $2.166M cap hit
Campbell had a solid-if-not-spectacular run with the Falcons. He's been labeled a bit of a pass defense liability, which isn't ideal in a Jim Schwartz defense which occasionally sees linebackers drop into coverage, but his sound taclking in the run game should make him appealing to the Eagles as a backup option.
6. Nick Kwiatkoski
2019 Stats: 1 INT, 1 fumble forced, 3.0 sacks, 8 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $2.025M base, $2.168M cap hit
A (western) Pennsylvana native, Kwiatkoski is a solid linebacker who played on some excellent defenses in Chicago. It's worth wondering if he was a product of his environment with the Bears, but he's a consistent player who will be looking for a raise in 2020. If the Eagles strike out on bigger names, Kwiatkoski could be a solid fall-back option.
5. Joe Schobert
2019 Stats: 4 INT, 2 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovered, 2.0 sacks, 7 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $2.025M base, $2.18M cap hit
It feels weird to think of a Browns defender as a marquee free agent, but Schobert was solid as a rock in 2019, two years after his Pro Bowl-worthy 2017. He set career-best marks in INTs, passes defended, and tackles for loss, three areas where the Eagles desperately need to improve the linebacker position. Coming over from a 4-3 defense, Schobert could slide right in and run Jim Schwartz's defense from the ILB spot.
4. Blake Martinez
2019 Stats: 1 INT, 1 fumble forced, 3.0 sacks, 5 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $2.025M base, $2.12M cap hit
Martinez is a tackle machine: he averaged 147 per season from 2017 to 2019, and racked up 25 tackles for loss over the last three seasons. He can be found all over the field, and brings a particular edge to the pass rush. Martinez still feels rough around the edges, but he's barely 26 years old and has plenty of room to build on his natural abilities.
3. Kyle Van Noy
2019 Stats: 3 fumbles forced, 2 fumbles recovered, 6.5 sacks, 7 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $4.25M base, $6.26M base
The Patriots' defense was stellar in 2019, and the versatile Van Noy was a big part of the success. His tackle numbers weren't sky-high, but he can play both inside and outside linebacker, he tied his career high in passes defended, and he set a career mark with three forced fumbles. Still on the right side of 30, Van Noy instantly improves any defense he joins.
2. Jamie Collins
2019 Stats: 3 INT, 3 fumbles forced, 1 fumble recovered, 7.0 sacks, 10 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $900K base, $3M cap hit
Collins turned 30 last season, but you wouldn't have known from his production. Freed from the squalid franchise in Cleveland, Collins returned to his previous game-changer form, creating turnovers in droves. The question about Collins becomes: is he this good because of Belichick? Or is he excellent outside of Cleveland, as many players are? I think it's the latter.
1. Cory Littleton
2019 Stats: 2 INT, 2 fumbles forced, 4 fumbles recovered, 3.5 sacks, 6 tackles for loss
2019 Salary: $3.095M base, $3.095M cap hit
It's hard to find a more productive linebacker than Cory Littleton. The Washington product strung together a pair of explosive seasons in 2018 and 2019, and will get paid this offseason, period. He's probably worth it - at 26, he's just entering his prime - and while he's coming from a 3-4 defense in Los Angeles, he's the kind of player who works no matter the scheme.