Eagles Linked to ‘One-Year Wonder’ After Titans Release Pro Bowl LB

Vic Beasley

getty Vic Beasley, Jr. #44 of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Eagles made zero moves at the NFL trade deadline — minus waiving Jason Croom and calling the Vikings — but there is a slam-dunk maneuver left on the table. The Titans are reportedly releasing linebacker Vic Beasley, the long-time Falcons standout who was on a “prove-it” one-year deal in Tennessee. No one has to remind anyone about the linebacker problem in Philadelphia.

Beasley is a hybrid edge rusher and outside linebacker, an absolute game-changer during his days in Atlanta. The former first-round pick led all defensive players in sacks (15.5), forced fumbles (6) and fumble returns for touchdowns (1) in 2016 en route to Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. The 28-year-old has 159 total tackles (37 for loss), 37.5 sacks, 12 passes defensed, 46 quarterbacks hits, 12 forced fumbles (two touchdowns) in 83 career games.

Pro Football Focus named Beasley to its “One-Year Wonder” team and called his 2106 an “outlier” before he inked a one-year, $9.5 million contract with the Titans. The analytics-driven website seemed worried about poor pass-rushing and pressure-rate grades despite a huge amount of sacks.

easley also cashed in on a new contract this offseason, and part of that check stems from a 2016 season where he led the NFL in sacks. Beasley’s 79.9 pass-rushing grade in 2016 indicates he probably didn’t deserve to lead the NFL in sacks, but it was a strong showing as a pass-rusher nonetheless. His career looked to be on an upward trend. The last three seasons haven’t come close to reaching those heights, though. Eighty-eight edge defenders have 500 or more pass-rushing snaps since 2017. Beasley’s pressure rate of 8.9% ranks 75th among that group. That number doesn’t match up with the guy who led the league in sacks four seasons ago.

“Anytime you come to a new environment, you know, you want to have that great first impression,” Beasley told reporters at the start of Titans camp, via Sports Illustrated. “You want to just show the people that you’re really, really into working with the team and want to be here.”

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Beasley’s Troubled Injury History

There might be one major reason why Beasley is getting cut in Tennessee. He’s an injury-prone linebacker — and converted edge rusher still trying to figure things out. Beasley started his Atlanta tenure by failing a physical and being placed on the non-football injury list. He was fined $500,00 for what was determined an unexcused absence from the team.

His stats have dropped dramatically since that 2016 breakout year and the leash was very short on him. Beasley has seen just 125 total snaps in 2020 (25% of the defensive snaps) and has just three tackles and no sacks in five games.

“He is here, which I am excited about,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said at camp, via CBS Sports. “He is in meetings and working through same schedule everyone else is.”

Does Contract Situation Work for Philly?

Yes, very much so. If the Titans cut Beasley on Wednesday — as has been reported — then the Eagles should swoop in (pun intended) and put in a waiver claim immediately. The former first-round pick in 2015 (eighth overall) is a cheap fix as a dual-threat edge rusher and linebacker.

Beasley is only due $1.85 in base salary this year and he’s a free agent after the season. He’s a one-year rental or maybe you sign him to an affordable extension if he plays well. It’s the biggest win-win since the roast pork sandwich in Philly.

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