Your enthusiasm for the Eagles signing Jatavis Brown will likely depend on how badly you think the team needs a linebacker.

If you're like me, you're more or less OK with the thought of Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards and some combination of Duke Riley and a draft pick as the linebackers. It's not a terribly important position in today's NFL, and both Gerry and Edwards showed potential last season.

But if you're worried the sky is falling, and not because of what's happening in the world, but because Gerry, Edwards and Riley are the Eagles' linebackers, then you're particularly thrilled by Brown.

There's nothing wrong with the move. Brown is 26. He's on the short side at 5-foot-11, though he's not "small," at 221 pounds. What he does lack in stature is made up for with true 4.4 speed.

Brown also has plenty of experience, starting 23 games in four seasons with the Chargers. He's only a season removed from posting 97 tackles in 2018, and recorded 79 tackles, 2 forced fumbles and 3.5 sacks as a fifth-round rookie in '16. The downside is Brown has dealt with injuries for much of his career — only one 16-game season in '17. He was basically an afterthought last year, returning from an ankle injury to training camp already in progress, then lining up for all of 94 defensive snaps.

Was he fully recovered? That much is unclear, but if the Chargers thought Brown was really that good, they probably wouldn't have been so quick to give away his spot. Of course, NFL teams make miscalculations all the time, and clearly the Eagles see a good athlete with experience who might benefit from better health and a change of scenery.


To be clear, this can hardly be considered addressing the need at the linebacker position. Even from the vantage point, the Eagles are really only looking for a third linebacker who can push Edwards. Brown is more a roll of the dice on a prospect than true competition. If he blossoms into a starter, we'll all be talking about what a genius Howie Roseman is — but nobody should expect that.

But if the Eagles are content to go forward with Gerry and Edwards as the primary linebackers, Brown is a perfectly fine addition. He'll play special teams. He'll be a seasoned reserve. He could even win that third linebacker job and not be on the field a whole lot. The Eagles have nothing to lose by giving him a shot. The only caveat here is they probably shouldn't be done looking at the position.

Grade: B

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