Eagles Top Tier Free Agent Abruptly Retires From NFL

Jatavis Brown

Getty Former Chargers linebacker Jatavis Brown inked a one-year deal to join the Eagles in free agency.

The Jatavis Brown experiment in Philadelphia may be over before it started.

The Eagles placed the veteran linebacker on the Reserve/Retired list on Sunday, a move “used by teams as a procedural move to retain a player and that players’ rights.” Brown has reportedly chosen to retire from the NFL over finishing out his contract.

His salary — one-year deal at $1.05 million (950,000 in base), per Spotrac — won’t count against the salary cap. No immediate indication on why was given, although injury concerns had been suspected. The Inquirer‘s Les Bowen reported that Brown “just wanted to move.”

Brown, a fifth-round draft pick in 2016, has suffered through a myriad of unfortunate injuries in his four years in the NFL. He has 267 total tackles (14 for loss), 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles for his career, all spent with the Chargers. He was supposed to help plug a glaring hole at inside linebacker in Philly and provide some veteran leadership.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz mentioned Brown by name when evaluating his roster earlier this month, inferring the team had big expectations for him in the absence of many “household names” at the linebacker spot. Brown’s departure should give rookies Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley and Dante Olson additional reps and opportunities.

“We’re excited about our whole roster right now,” Schwartz said on Aug. 1. “One thing I am really excited about at the linebacker position is adding a guy like Jatavis, adding a guy like Davion Taylor, adding Shaun Bradley, we have some real speed at that position.”

Brown played high school football with Eagles cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc who helped recruit the linebacker to the Eagles’ nest.

He had started in 23 of 56 games for the Chargers, mostly relegated to a special-teams role in 2019. Injuries dampened a once-promising career and now his future in professional football appears in jeopardy. The 26-year-old came into Philly saying all the right things and drawing some modest hype with his blue collar attitude.

“I’m a playmaker, man,” Brown told Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro in March. “I’m somebody that is just going to go out and ball out and have fun. And enjoy being out there with my teammates.”

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Bruce Hector Signs with Carolina Panthers

Meanwhile, former Eagles defensive tackle Bruce Hector found a new home in Carolina. The Panthers claimed the 25-year-old off waivers and released wide receiver Trevontae Hights, per the team’s official website. There was no indication of what Hector’s immediate role would be there.

Hector played in 11 games (one start) over two seasons with the Eagles as he bounced up and down from the practice squad to the active roster. He tallied two total tackles, two quarterback hits and half a sack. He became the victim of a numbers crunch with a formidable defensive tackle rotation that includes Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway in Philly.

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