Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Andrew Kulp bring back Stay or Go with the 2020 version, trying to figure out the future of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Today, we’ll look at linebackers:

Nigel Bradham 

Roob: Bradham isn’t a star, but he’s been generally consistent in his four years here. The problem is that $8 base salary for 2020. There’s no way the Eagles are paying Bradham $8 million so either he agrees to a restructure or he’s outta here. My guess is that the two sides are able to work out a deal that makes sense for both sides. 

Verdict: Stays

Dave: I can’t imagine the Eagles will pick up Bradham’s option year for 2020 with a base salary of $8 million, so if Bradham comes back it’ll be for less money. I talked to the 30-year-old about that possibility and he seemed open to the thought of a restructure. He has spent the last four years in Philly and five of his eight NFL seasons under Jim Schwartz. No one knows this defense better and, kind of like Jalen Mills, I can’t imagine another team would value Bradham as much as the Eagles. I think they figure out a way to bring him back. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: Midway through 2018, Bradham's release looked inevitable. Then he had a monster second half, and the Eagles let Jordan Hicks walk instead. That appears to have been a pretty big mistake. At 27, Hicks finished third in the NFL with 150 tackles, plus 1.5 sacks, 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles in 16 games for the Cardinals. Bradham turned 30 and meandered through 12 games with 61 tackles, no sacks, 1 interception and no forced fumbles. Sure, he was hurt from the get go, but he just had no impact, and on balance, his last seasons have been a disappointment overall. It won't bring Hicks back, but moving Bradham will save close to $5 million while giving a chance to a younger player. 

 

Verdict: Goes

Kamu Grugier-Hill 

Roob: Grugier-Hill is a free agent, and he hasn’t been terrible as a starter, but I feel like he’s reached his ceiling, and may be best suited as a special teamer and role player on defense. If he’s willing to stay here at a modest salary, may as well keep him. But I think the Eagles want to upgrade at linebacker, and I think Kamu wants to get paid, so I'm thinking it's more likely he goes than stays.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: This was supposed to be a breakout season for Grugier-Hill but then he hurt his knee in training camp and missed the beginning of the season. Late in the year, there seemed to be a disconnect between him and the franchise when he eventually landed on IR. He was a good player for the Eagles over the last four seasons but I think his time here is probably over as he heads for free agency. 

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: The nature in which Grugier-Hill's season ended -- quietly scuttled to IR one week after hiding a concussion -- is enough to make one wonder if the club soured on him. This was supposed to be a breakout year for a fourth-year player, and while he can't control the fact that he got hurt earlier too, the performance he gave in 10 games wasn't exactly irreplaceable, either. KGH is a free agent, so unless he finds a soft market for his services and is willing to return on a cheap one-year deal, the Eagles could be ready to give someone else a shot. 

Verdict: Goes

Nathan Gerry 

Roob: Gerry averaged close to 50 snaps per game from Week 6 on, and with Kamu and Bradham both dealing with injuries that was the most of all Eagles linebackers during that stretch. I’m OK with Gerry. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a star, but he’s a smart, tough guy and seems to be around the ball a lot. He’s on a cheap contract, plays a ton of special teams and whether or not he's a full-time starter moving forward, I can't imagine he’s going anywhere.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Give Gerry credit. He came into the league making a transition from safety and in his third NFL season, looked like a linebacker. He had a pretty good 2019 season: 72 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 TD, 1 FR, 5 PBUs. He’s definitely not an old-school ‘backer but that’s not what the Eagles want anyway. He’ll be back in 2020 and should be in the mix for playing time. 

 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: It might sound funny, but there's really no denying Gerry was the best linebacker on the team in 2019. Seriously. The third-year player racked up 78 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and a touchdown. And while missed tackles were an issue, it became a bit more forgivable at the end of the year when it was revealed he played the entire season with a core muscle injury. Gerry may never be a tackling machine, but he's athletic, gives full effort and makes impactful plays. There's a very real possibility he goes into next season as the Eagles' No. 1 linebacker. 

Verdict: Stays

T.J. Edwards 

Roob: With Zach Brown out of the picture, Edwards got a little bit of run later in the year as an undrafted rookie and held his own. He’s a heck of a special teamer – his 334 snaps was second on the team to Gerry – and is worth a long look in camp, especially if Bradham is gone.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: The thing I really like about Edwards is he doesn’t try to do too much. A lot of young players try to make spectacular plays and end up getting burnt. Edwards just makes the plays that come to him and he was solid and instinctive all season. Every time the Eagles asked him to handle more responsibly, he did it. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: If Gerry is going into the season as the Eagles' No. 1 linebacker, there's a chance it will be this kid by the end. Hell, maybe even Week 1. Edwards only played 11.1% of the defensive snaps, yet he managed to record 30 tackles - one fewer than Zach Brown in 26.6% and seven more than Grugier-Hill in 29.4%. Not bad for an undrafted rookie. Edwards deserves a shot for a bigger role in this defense, though the club will surely look to add more competition for starting jobs. 

Verdict: Stays

Duke Riley 

Roob: Core special teamer is under contract for another year and I would expect the Eagles to keep him around. He barely plays on defense – just 29 snaps all year – but he’s a capable special teamer and isn’t costing you much so no reason not to keep him  unless you bring in a bunch of younger linebackers. Which is possible.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: The fact that the Eagles named Riley a special teams captain late in the season kind of tells you what they think of him. The Eagles certainly won that trade with the Falcons, who got Johnathan Cyprien in return back in late September. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: If nothing else, the Eagles nabbed themselves an excellent special teams player from the Falcons. Riley only came over in a trade at the very end of September, yet was elevated to captain status by season's end. And while he saw almost no action on defense, this is a former third-round pick with 16 career starts in the NFL, which suggests he'll make for a capable reserve at the very least. He'll be 26 and under contract for cheap. 

 

Verdict: Stays

Alex Singleton 

Roob: Like Riley and Edwards, Singleton is essentially a special teamer who’s a linebacker by trade. The former CFL’er spent the first month and a half of the season on the practice squad before an October call up. He never got on the field on defense. Seems to be a decent special teamer. But you can’t keep all these guys, so I’m going with Singleton as the odd man out.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Kudos to Singleton, who decided to stay on a practice squad instead of going back to the CFL where he was already a star. The decision paid off when he was called up from the practice squad in October. I’m on the fence about Singleton. Teams always need special teams linebackers but I think there’s a chance the Eagles draft one late or get another priority free agent who could bump him off the roster. 

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: Singleton didn't get any looks with the defense, but he played a ton on special teams following his promotion from the practice squad. Not sure he'll ever be more than that, but he's got a great outlook and personality -- the type of player you want in your locker room -- and with all the turnover likely to occur at the top of the depth chart, the Eagles probably would prefer not to back-fill the roster simultaneously. Plus, given what he accomplished in his second season in the NFL, it probably wouldn't be wise to bet against him just yet. 

Verdict: Stays

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