Tulloch Not Necessarily a Great Fit for Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - In a move that was long expected, the Detroit Lions finally cut ties with veteran linebacker Stephen Tulloch on Tuesday.
And it's easy to connect the dots here in Philadelphia because of Tulloch's history with Jim Schwartz, along with the Eagles' desperate need for depth at linebacker.
That said, the North Carolina State product is not necessarily the natural fit for the club that most think he is.
Although there is little doubt that Schwartz respects Tulloch's ability as a former fourth-round pick that developed into a long-time starter in both Tennessee and Detroit under Schwartz, you don't bring in a 31-year-old with 112 career NFL starts as an insurance policy for 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 and Hicks to be the backup or move him to the SAM spot as an upgrade over Nigel Bradham, that's an idea that makes some sense on paper.
However, all indications are that Philadelphia is very excited about Hicks being the starter in the middle and will be crossing its fingers when it comes to the second-year pro's lengthy injury history, which dates back to his days in college at the University of Texas. Meanwhile, Bradham is also a Schwartz favorite from Buffalo and that position figures to be on the field only 30 to 40 percent of the time anyway.
For most of the offseason work, Najee Goode cross-trained on the weak-side and in the middle, taking the first-team reps while Hicks was nursing two different leg issues. Rookie seventh-round pick Joe Walker is next in line and the key to each of those options is that they figure to be members of nearly all of Dave Fipp's special teams units if they make the final 53.
So, while Tulloch's 913 career tackles, 14 1/2 sacks, five interceptions, 27 pass defensed and 12 fumble recoveries look real good on paper, he'd have to come to Philadelphia as a likely starter for another reunion with Schwartz to make any sense.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen