The Philadelphia Eagles are moving on from a former first-round draft pick just days after signing him.
As reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Eagles are releasing linebacker Rashaan Evans — at his request — after signing him to the practice squad on Tuesday, September 12.
“Rashaan Evans’ practice squad contract was terminated today by the Eagles at his request, per source,” wrote Schefter on Friday, September 15. “Evans has options from several other teams that he is currently considering.”
Why the Eagles Signed Rashaan Evans
The 27-year-old linebacker was signed shortly after it was announced that second-year linebacker Nakobe Dean was placed on injured reserve — he’ll miss a minimum of four games — due to a foot injury.
After elevating linebacker Nicholas Morrow to the 53-man roster to fill Dean’s spot, the Eagles signed Evans to fill Morrow’s spot on the practice squad.
Evans was one of the more decorated linebackers on the free agency market, having not only started 67 games during his career, but he racked up 159 tackles last season with the Atlanta Falcons. That was the seventh-highest total of any player last season and the 64th-highest single-season mark in NFL history.
The sixth-year linebacker initially entered the NFL as the 22nd overall pick of the Tennessee Titans in the 2018 NFL Draft. During his four years with the Titans, Evans once posted a 111-tackle season and started 50 of his 59 appearances in Tennessee.
Following the offseason departures of former starters Kyzir White and T.J. Edwards, Philadelphia made a lackluster effort in replacing them, choosing only to sign Morrow during the offseason. When training camp around, Philadelphia made a last-ditch effort to upgrade their linebacker corps, signing free agents Zach Cunningham and Myles Jack. However, Jack — a former starter with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers — chose to retire shortly after signing.
Why Eagles Are Releasing Rashaan Evans
As Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia points out, the Eagles must have had a change of heart when it comes to their thoughts on the linebacker position following their 34-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, September 14.
“Either Evans was not what the Eagles thought in some way, shape or form,” writes Frank. “Or they just felt a lot better about their linebackers after both Morrow and Zach Cunningham played well Thursday night in the Eagles’ win over the Vikings.”
Frank further details how thin the Eagles are at the off-ball linebacker spot following the release of Evans. Philadelphia only features Morrow, Cunningham and Christian Elliss at outside linebacker on the 53-man roster.
“With Dean out, Morrow, Cunningham and Christian Ellis are the only off-ball linebackers on the 53-man roster,” writes Frank. “The Eagles released Morrow in final cuts before bringing him back to the practice squad and then promoting him to the 53 after Dean got hurt. Releasing Evans leaves undrafted rookie Ben VanSumeren as the only linebacker on the practice squad.”
With the Eagles featuring just six linebackers total on its roster, we’ll see if Philadelphia chooses to sign one more linebacker before their Week 3 tilt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, September 25.