Eagles Closing in on Tulloch?
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - You got the feeling earlier this week that Jim Schwartz wasn't exactly comfortable with the depth his has on the defensive side of the football in Philadelphia and a long-rumored reunion could be on the verge of coming to fruition because of that fact.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Eagles are in "heavy negotiations" with 31-year-old veteran middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, was has a long history with the Eagles' defensive coordinator dating back to their days together in Tennessee and Detroit.
The question is where does Tulloch, a natural middle linebacker, fit because you generally don't bring in a veteran with 112 career NFL starts as just an insurance policy for a second-year starter like Jordan Hicks for a number of reasons.
Most notably reserve LBs need to be a core component on your special teams units, something Tulloch, who is coming off offseason ankle surgery, hasn’t had in his job description since his early days in Nashville.
If the plan is to have Tulloch start at the middle linebacker spot, then the dominoes begin to fall with Hicks likely moving to the weak-side, probably a more natural position for him anyway, and Mychal Kendricks shuffling from the weak side and battling free-agent signee Nigel Bradham at the SAM position.
That scenario would also greatly improve the depth because the loser of the Kendricks/Bradham battle would head to the bench to heading a group that will likely include special-teams standout Najee Goode as well as rookie seventh-round pick Joe Walker.
Bradham's potential legal issues for allegedly assaulting a cabana boy at a Miami Beach hotel last month also have to enter the equation.
Tulloch has always been a very productive player with 913 career tackles, 14 1/2 sacks, five interceptions, 27 pass defended and 12 fumble recoveries in stints with the Titans and the Lions and although he is likely only a two-down player at this stage, his presence would make Schwartz a lot more comfortable.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen