Eagles Urged to Sign Chiefs’ Key Playmakers in Free Agency


The Eagles were listed as an ideal fit for Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay in free agency.

Few positions on the Philadelphia Eagles‘ roster need an upgrade in talent more than at linebacker.

Philadelphia is certainly counting on Nakobe Dean to make major strides in his third season, but injuries have limited his availability and played a role in the former University of Georgia standout posting a combined 43 tackles through his first 22 games.

However, besides Dean, four of the Eagles’ linebackers from last season are set to become free agents when the new league year begins on March 13, and Noah Ellis has never played an NFL snap.

Enter, Kansas City Chiefs defensive playmaker Willie Gay.

Pro Football Focus lists the Eagles as Gay’s best free agent fit.

“Philadelphia buying low on a recent early draft pick who works best as the member of a committee at linebacker is their modus operandi,” Brad Spielberger writes for PFF.

Gay came into his own in 2023, emerging as a key contributor on a defense that fueled the Chiefs’ run to a third Super Bowl victory of the Patrick Mahomes-Andy Reid era.

Through his first 57 games, Gay has logged 233 total tackles with five sacks, 17 tackles for loss, a pair of forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

Why Gay Makes Sense for the Eagles

Gay, coming off one of the best seasons of his career, could be exactly the type of player new Eagles defensive coordinator Vic Fangio could look to build a defense with staying power around.

One year removed from a career-high 88 tackles, Gay added 58 in 2024 along with one sack and one interception. In the Super Bowl, Gay also chipped in three tackles in Kansas City’s overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

While opposing quarterbacks posted a 103.7 passer rating when targeting Gay, and he missed eight tackles, Pro Football Focus gives the 26-year-old a 71.3 run-stopping grade.

In Fangio’s scheme, linebackers are routinely offered the ability to freelance, especially when playing downhill against the run or rushing the passer.

Given the investment along the defensive line made by the Eagles in recent drafts, selecting Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis in back-to-back first-rounds, Gay could benefit from the double-teams created by a space-eater such as Davis.

With two Super Bowl rings on his fingers, Gay would immediately provide steady veteran leadership and experience to a position group that is in a state of flux ahead of the 2024 season.

How Much Will Gay Cost in Free Agency?

The Eagles might not need to break the bank to sign Gay, even if cap space is unlikely to be a hurdle for general manager Howie Roseman.

Spotrac projects that while Gay could be in line for a significant pay raise on his first free-agent contract, his potential deal wouldn’t be prohibitive to the Eagles’ cap situation.

Gay played the past four seasons on his rookie deal, as the 31st-highest-paid running back in the league, but, According to Spotrac, Gay could be in line for a new four-year contract worth upwards of $28.2 million. That contract would average out to $7.07 million, annually, and make Gay the NFL’s 15th-highest-paid inside linebacker.

Roseman and the Eagles got a jump start on creating spending flexibility, by releasing veteran safety Kevin Byard.

After releasing Byard, the Eagles currently have over $39.6 million in cap space. It remains to be seen whether Roseman and the Eagles shop at the top of the free agent market or view Gay as an ascending piece who could be had at a relative bargain at a position the organization historically has not been big spenders at.



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