Eagles Bring Bradham Back
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles and linebacker Nigel Bradham have agreed to a new five-year contract that could earn the Jim Schwartz favorite up to $40 million, according to multiple media reports.
Bradham had his best season in 2017, excelling as a three-down linebacker and taking over the communication aspect on defense from the injured Jordan Hicks seamlessly.
The veteran amassed 85 tackles, one sack, eight PBUs and one fumble recovery returned for a touchdown last season, grading out as the 21st best linebacker in the NFL according to ProFootballFocus.com.
“Nigel plays with tremendous energy and fire and has made a number of impact plays for us at the linebacker position," the team said in a statement while announcing the seal. "Keeping him here was a priority of ours and we are looking forward to his future here in Philadelphia.”
Bradham took on almost a dual-role in the Philadelphia's defense after Hicks exited with an Achilles tear, the cerebral leader who got everyone lined up correctly in the front seven as well as the intimidator as the Eagles' fiercest hitter.
The deal means that essentially the entire front seven will be back come September as the franchise begins defense of its first Super Bowl title.
The one caveat there is the return of Hicks to significant playing time instead of Mychal Kendricks.
In today's NFL, there is really only room for two three-down LBs and that's Bradham and Hicks when the latter is deemed healthy. Kendricks, meanwhile, currently carries a significant $7.6M cap hit and Philadelphia will be signing former Denver LB Corey Nelson to a much more manageable one-year, $2.35M deal to serve as the third LB.
The Eagles would gain about $4.4M in cap space by moving Kendricks.
Originally a fourth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2012, Bradham has produced 428 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and 25 PBUs in 88 career regular-season games. He was first signed by the Eagles before the 2016 season and has played his best football in Schwartz's scheme both in Buffalo and Philadelphia.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen