The Philadelphia Eagles registered only 29 sacks during the 2021 season, the second-worst total in the NFL. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, not with the way Josh Sweat was swarming quarterbacks late in the year.
Javon Hargrave was fantastic earlier in the season, combining with veteran Fletcher Cox and rookie Milton Williams to form one of the better defensive tackle rotations in football. Still, the Eagles are going to need a stronger pass rush to keep opposing quarterbacks at bay. The front office knows it after scouting a draft class loaded with top-tier talent.
“It’s not only the sack numbers, you know that. There are other ways to judge that,” general manager Howie Roseman told reporters on Wednesday. “But the bottom line is we didn’t get enough pressure on the quarterback. We have to have pressure on the quarterback. We have to continue to have pressure on the quarterback.”
Philadelphia will get Brandon Graham back from injury in 2022. That’s an extra eight or nine sacks. However, don’t be surprised to see them spend a first-round pick on another edge rusher. Roseman also expressed interest in the free-agent market.
“It’s a priority to us,” Roseman said of improving the pass rush. “We’ll have opportunities this offseason to do it, and I would be very surprised if we didn’t do something there.”
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Free Agent to Watch: Chandler Jones
The Eagles have been linked to a slew of impact edge rushers in the first round, including David Ojabo, Travon Walker, Jermaine Johnson, and Drake Johnson. That’s the easiest and most likely route for them to go. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Roseman go after a prized free agent. Chandler Jones is the biggest fish out there.
The former Arizona Cardinal recorded 10.5 sacks in 2021 to punch his fourth Pro Bowl ticket. Jones has 107.5 career sacks while notching double-digit sacks in seven of his 10 NFL seasons. He just turned 32 which could help drive his price tag down after he earned $15.5 million last year. How much is a future Hall of Famer worth to the Eagles? That’s the question.
Eagles Finally Looking for Linebackers?
The Eagles inked TJ Edwards to a one-year contract extension worth $3.2 million last season. He helped stabilize the linebacking corps and jumped into a starting role after the team cut Eric Wilson. Edwards finished with 130 total tackles, the second-most behind Alex Singleton. The Eagles have never prioritized the position, but don’t rule it out.
“Obviously T.J. had a heck of a year, a really good year,” Roseman said. “We have a bunch of other young players at the position, and we’ll just see what happens in free agency and the draft. We’re grading linebackers just like we’re grading every other position.”
Singleton is a restricted free agent who figures to return. Davion Taylor will be in the mix, too. He was coming into his own before a Week 11 knee injury ended his 2021 season. Outside of them, it’s wide open with guys like Shaun Bradley, JaCoby Stevens, and Patrick Johnson looking for snaps.