Eagles Super Bowl Champion LB Sounds Off on ‘Bad Year’

Getty Free agent LB Nigel Bradham.

If a linebacker racked up 348 tackles in 58 games, that would be considered pretty productive. Especially if he helped win a Super Bowl championship.

The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t necessarily see it that way. They let starter Nigel Bradham walk in free agency in a move that saved them about $4 million in cap room, per Spotrac. Looking at the Eagles’ future financial situation, it made perfect sense.

However, Bradham was arguably the team’s best linebacker at a weak position. He had 97 tackles in 2018 and 88 during the Super Bowl run in 2017. Not to mention, he had 102 tackles in 2016. Now they are counting on veteran Nathan Gerry to take over the play-calling duties on defense, with guys like T.J. Edwards, Jatavis Brown, Duke Riley and rookie Davion Taylor asked to possibly step into starting roles.

It’s a bold jump to make but one the franchise thought it needed to take. Meanwhile, Bradham remains a free agent and wanted to let the world know that he can still play. The 31-year-old took to Twitter to share that he recorded 60 tackles (he actually had 61 tackles) in 12 games in what his skeptics called a “bad year.”

Want further proof that it wasn’t such a bad year? The Eagles’ leading tackler in 2019 was Malcolm Jenkins who registered 80 total tackles. Bradham still finished fourth on the team despite missing four games with a lingering ankle injury. The linebacker said he just wanted to “set the record straight” about his departure.

Adding even more insult to injury, the five-year, $40 million deal Bradham signed in 2018 was viewed as a very team-friendly deal. It contained only $6 million in truly guaranteed money components, per NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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Were the Eagles Tired of Bradham’s Antics?

The Eagles and Bradham got into a small spat last summer when the linebacker missed the team bus for a preseason game in New York. His name hadn’t popped up on any injury reports so it appeared to be a strange absence.

There were also reports that the organization was unhappy about Bradham going “AWOL” and a mini-controversy soon swirled. The team reportedly offered to send a car to pick him up, but he declined the offer.

“Initially, the plan was for me to come up, but I obviously wasn’t playing,” Bradham told The Inquirer. “I was just going to do a little workout, a little running, stuff I’ve been doing. I wasn’t going to be playing in the game or anything. I was just under the weather, so I decided to stay home.”

The two sides eventually patched things up and Bradham was never suspended for the incident. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson dismissed the missed preseason game as a non-issue.

“Nigel and I have spoken,” Pederson told reporters. “We’ve handled it. It’s an internal issue. We’re in a good place and I’ll leave it at that.”

Still, it probably stuck in their craw a bit when they were considering whether to bring him back. The Eagles let him walk in free agency and are hoping an untested linebacking corps can rise to the occasion in 2020.

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