Eagles’ Newcomer Named Potential Cut: Has ‘To Prove That He Belongs’


Getty Images Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni.

The Philadelphia Eagles‘ Zack Baun signing early in free agency was hailed as an investment in upgrading a position that had been considered one often ignored by the franchise in recent years.

Baun, 27, arrives in Philadelphia after posting 30 total tackles last season for the New Orleans Saints with two sacks, one interception, and one pass breakup.

However, after the Eagles doubled down on upgrading the talent at linebacker during the NFL Draft, after also adding former All-Pro linebacker Devin White in free agency, not everyone is convinced Baun will make an impact in 2024.

Or, even that Baun will be on the roster when Week 1 kicks off in September.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine put together a list of three potentially surprising cuts the Eagles could make this summer, including Baun.

“The Eagles invested in both positions through the draft,” Ballentine writes. “After signing Devin White and Oren Burks in free agency they drafted Jeremiah Trotter Jr. in the fifth round. On the edge, they drafted Jalyx Hunt with a third-round pick in addition to signing Bryce Huff and Julian Okwara.

“Roseman has prioritized depth up front and only carried three linebackers on the initial 53-man roster last season. There’s a lot of talent in the Eagles front seven. Baun is going to have to have a really good camp to prove that he belongs in the rotation and on the roster.”

Releasing Baun months after signing him would be a stunning about-face, but isn’t anywhere near outside the realm of possibility.

Baun’s deal is only a one-year pact and the veteran linebacker is set to count just $1.2 million against the cap.

In order to secure a roster spot and a meaningful role in coordinator Vic Fangio’s linebacker rotation, Baun may need to prove that he’s still a more consistent option with more upside than Hunt, whom the Eagles invested a premium draft pick in this spring.

Vic Fangio Reveals Why His Scheme is So Often Replicated

New Eagles defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has seen his scheme replicated throughout the league in recent seasons, but believes that its ultimate key to success is rather simple.

“Good players,” Fangio told reporters on May 9 is what makes his system so effective.

Philadelphia is hoping Fangio’s presence combined with marquee additions in free agency and during this spring’s draft will elevate a unit that finished ranked No. 26 in total defense, 31st in passing defense, and a respectable 10th against the run in 2023.

“We have a system that is versatile,” Fangio said, in his first press conference as Eagles defensive coordinator. “We like to think. It needs to be versatile because every week you’re facing different strengths of an offense, different schemes. So, what you play in one week 10, 15 times, you may not play at all the next week. You have to have a versatile system for the offenses today in the NFL. What we’ll eventually do is learn what our guys are best at.”

In the coming weeks ahead during OTAs and minicamp practices, Fangio plans to aggressively install his system to avoid any breakdowns early in the upcoming season.

“I like to throw a lot at them early because I think one of the worst things you can do is come Week 3, Week 5, ‘Man, we could really use this scheme,’ but it hadn’t been introduced to the players yet.

“Whereas if you introduced it to them in training camp and worked on it, when you pull it back out three, four weeks later, there’s recall. We’ll throw a lot at them in training camp to see what best fits for them, what they’re good at, and then try and whittle it down, but always keeping some stuff in the bank in case we need it at some point during the season.”

Jalyx Hunt’s Best Traits Revealed

The Eagles’ selection of Jalyx Hunt was overshadowed a bit by Clemson’s Jeremiah Trotter Jr. following in his father’s footsteps to Philadelphia.

However, the former Houston Christian standout could prove to be a diamond in the rough and an instant contributor on Fangio’s defense.

“A small-school player, Hunt dominated the lower levels,” Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkemma writes. “Racking up 78 pressures, 14 hits and 14 sacks since 2022. He has athleticism, explosiveness and power that many edge rushers in this class don’t possess. He needs development to win at the next level, but his traits give him a great chance at reaching his potential.”

If Hunt shines during OTAs, minicamps, and training camp this summer, he could force his way into meaningful snaps as a rookie this fall.

Read More