The Philadelphia Eagles handed hometown hero Haason Reddick a three-year deal worth $45 million in the offseason. That amounts to $15 million per year, plus $30 million fully guaranteed, for a beastly pass rusher who casually referred to himself as a “weapon of mass destruction.”
Reddick’s signing was seen as a coup by the majority of talking heads around the NFL. He has wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks since 2020: 23.5 sacks over the past two seasons while lining up as a hybrid playmaker all over the defensive line.
He’s a legit stud. However, the Eagles are loaded in the trenches and could have a pass-rushing rotation that goes eight players deep. In addition to Reddick, guys like Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Milton Williams, and rookie Jordan Davis are all itching to get into the backfield.
Will there be enough snaps to go around? Yes. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon thinks it’s a good problem to have for a unit that finished second-worst in team sacks last season.
“The more rushers the better,” Gannon told reporters on May 24. “We’ll figure that out as we get closer to game day and then on gameday how we deploy those guys. But the more guys that we have that can affect the quarterback, we’ll get them on the field and have them affect the quarterback.”
Individual sack numbers could be down across the board, though. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine thinks Reddick’s stats could suffer, although his overall impact should extend beyond the box score. Hot take: Reddick fails to record double-digit sack totals for the first time since 2019.
“It’s a good time to remember that pass-rushing production isn’t all about sacks, though,” Ballentine wrote. “It’s entirely possible the Temple product is worth the investment even if he doesn’t continue to match those sack totals. So, while Reddick is going to still be a force on the Eagles defense, he may not quite get to the same sack totals he has seen in the last two seasons.”
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Quez Watkins Being ‘Slept On’ Heading into Camp
The Eagles provided a major upgrade to their receivers group by trading for Pro Bowler A.J. Brown. He immediately gives them a true No. 1 option to pair with DeVonta Smith. That means the slot role could be up for grabs between Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal once training camp opens on July 26.
Watkins is the more interesting name to watch — remember, head coach Nick Sirianni proclaimed Watkins the No. 2 before the Brown trade — and the third-year receiver is coming off a very productive 2021 campaign.
Watkins hauled in 43 balls for 647 yards, with an insane 15.0 yards-per-catch average (13th-best in the NFL). He did it in limited usage (62 targets) while doubling the production of 2020 first-rounder Jalen Reagor.
He’s a big-play threat waiting to happen, and a guy not afraid to go over the middle and make contested catches. Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski thinks “he is being slept on a bit as a playmaker.” He wrote:
When the ball isn’t going Watkins’ way, opposing defenses will still have to respect his deep speed, which could help open up the short and intermediate areas of the field for Brown, Smith, and Goedert to operate. In a way, Watkins is a perfect complement to that trio, in that (a) he’ll open up space for them, (b) he won’t require a heavy target share, and (c) he has proven that he can make big plays when the ball comes his way.
Brandon Graham Ready to Bounce Back
The Eagles’ new video series “Unscripted” debuted with Episode 1 on June 15. It starts with a lengthy feature on Brandon Graham and his rehab from a ruptured Achilles, showing how hard the 34-year-old defensive end worked to get back to full strength.
Graham put every ounce of sweat into his comeback and he’s ready to show the world he’s not done yet.
“They don’t know the grind. They just see the finished product,” Graham said. “But I’m gonna make sure the finished product is worth watching.”