Eagles

How Eagles helped Nigel Bradham by cutting him now

How Eagles helped Nigel Bradham by cutting him now

The Eagles formally released linebacker Nigel Bradham on Wednesday, one day after it was initially reported that the team had decided not to exercise his $8 million contract option and a month before they had to.

Bradham’s contract requires the Eagles to decide by the last day of the 2019 league year — in this case March 18 — whether to extend his deal by a year and pay him $8 million in base salary for 2020 or not exercise the option, allowing him to become a free agent.

But by releasing him on Wednesday — a full four weeks before they were required to — the Eagles give Bradham the opportunity to begin talking to teams and potentially negotiating a new contract before the start of free agency, which is also March 18.

Now that he’s no longer the Eagles’ property, he’s an unrestricted free agent a month before all the other linebackers hit the market.

It's a courtesy that gives him a head start on the mid-March free agency frenzy.

The Eagles and Bradham renegotiated his contract in March of 2018, and that renegotiation ran through 2022 but gave the Eagles an escape clause in the form of option years after the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Because there’s no remaining guaranteed money in Bradham’s deal, the cap ramifications are no different if they release him now or formally decline his option next month. 

Bradham will count about $5.3 million in dead money under the Eagles’ 2020 cap, according to Spotrac, instead of the $9 million he would have counted if the Eagles’ kept him.

Bradham, who turns 31 in September, spent four years with the Eagles and started 64 of a possible 70 games, including the postseason.

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NFL Draft Rumors: Eagles could pick these defenders instead of WR in first round

NFL Draft Rumors: Eagles could pick these defenders instead of WR in first round

We're just 15 days from the 2020 NFL Draft, and draft rumors are swirling more than the winds over the Schuylkill. One rumbling we've heard more than once now: the Eagles might be interested in using their No. 21 pick on a defender.

Over at Sports Illustrated on Wednesday, NFL insider Albert Breer answered in a mailbag column one of the hottest questions in this year's draft: Are the Eagles taking a wide receiver in the first round?

And Breer, like Adam Schefter before him, isn't sold. Breer even listed a few possible defensive options the Eagles might like more than, say, LSU wideout Justin Jefferson at No. 21:

I get the idea that Eagles fans are ready to burn the Linc to the ground if Philly doesn’t take one in the first round—given the inactivity in fixing that position this offseason, and awkward contractual spot they’re in with Alshon Jeffery. But I’m not totally convinced it happens.

(...) 

Let’s say (Xavier) McKinney is there. Or K’Lavon Chaisson is there. Or (CJ) Henderson is there and the value in pairing him with Darius Slay, and fixing the corner spot once and for all, is too great.

And to further this, let’s say (Ceedee) Lamb and (Jerry) Jeudy are gone. If Henry Ruggs is there, maybe you take him. Or maybe you think to yourself that taking one of the others makes sense, knowing a similar player, in K.J. Hamler, might be around in Round 2. If Ruggs is gone? Then, it’d seem, the value of the defensive guys may further outdistance, say, Justin Jefferson.

The odds say Jefferson is a likely pick for the Eagles, and they've been linked to him many times. But is that more out of convenience and perceived fit?

Howie Roseman is nothing if not a guy who wants to get value out of his draft picks, and if he thinks the best value at No. 21 is taking a cornerback like CJ Henderson instead of a wide receiver like Jefferson, he'll make the defender move every time.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank examined today some possible options at wide receiver who might be available in the third round. This is a deep wide receiver draft.

Eagles fans are, indeed, hungry for a young star wide receiver. Roseman knows this, but he still might zig on draft night when fans want him to zag.

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Ranking the Eagles’ 2020 NFL Draft needs after free agency

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USA Today Images

Ranking the Eagles’ 2020 NFL Draft needs after free agency

The Eagles signed nine players during the initial free agency portion of the offseason but they still have plenty of needs to fill. 

And they’ll have eight picks in the upcoming draft to help fill those holes. (Remember, the Eagles traded two picks — a third- and fifth-rounder to the Lions for Darius Slay.) 

Here’s an updated look at their draft picks: 

Round 1: No. 21
Round 2: No. 53
Round 3: No. 103
Round 4: No. 127
Round 4: No. 145
Round 4: No. 146
Round 5: No. 168
Round 6: No. 190 

And here’s how I rank their current needs: 

2020 NFL Draft: Ranking the Eagles’ needs with 2 weeks to go