Eagles Get Disappointing News on Big Free Agent Target

Matt Milano

Getty Buffalo Bills LB Matt Milano will forego free agency to try and win a Super Bowl ring for the team that drafted him.

Did the Philadelphia Eagles ever have a realistic chance at signing stud linebacker Matt Milano? Truthfully, it would have been virtually impossible considering their mangled salary cap situation.

But the rumors had been building considerable steam in recent days — that is, until Thursday. Milano decided to return to the Buffalo Bills and forego free agency for another crack at a Super Bowl ring. The 26-year-old signed a four-year, $44 million contract that includes $24 million in guaranteed money, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He finished the 2020 campaign with just 45 total tackles in 10 games after a pectoral strain landed him on injured reserve. He has 273 tackles and six sacks in four seasons.

The only reason anybody was even semi-excited about Milano possibly joining the Eagles this year was thanks to ESPN Insiders. They called him the “perfect scheme fit” in a “three-down role” under new Philly defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Obviously, ESPN wasn’t taking into account the fact the Eagles were roughly $17.5 million over the cap. (Editor’s note: Number is after all the restructured contracts).

Here’s what ESPN Insiders wrote about Milano’s fit in Philadelphia:

Milano would be an upgrade at linebacker in Philadelphia, and the traits are there to play a three-down role for the Eagles. He can be schemed as a rusher off pressures (3.5 sacks last season), and he will play off-contact to find the ball in the run game, too.

Plus, with the ability to drop in coverage, and move in space, Milano can match in zone coverage or close windows as an underneath hook defender in sub-packages.

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Javon Hargrave Restructures Contract Next

The restructured contracts keep sliding down Howie Roseman’s desk like broken Slinkies. The newest player to move some money around was Javon Hargrave who will now earn the veteran minimum salary of $990,000 in 2021. The 305-pound defensive tackle signed a three-year, $39 million last offseason to join the Eagles after four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Hargrave spent the majority of the 2020 campaign rehabbing from a minor pectoral strain suffered prior to training camp. He struggled at times early in the year and didn’t really start hitting his groove until Week 9. Hargrave finished with 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, eight quarterback hits in 15 games (11 starts). He was viewed as one of the best nose tackles in football when Philly inked him.

“You can’t always judge a guy just on sack numbers,” former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said of Hargrave last year. “There’s a lot of other things that go into it, freeing up other people, sometimes you have a great rush, and somebody else will make a sack and sometimes you make a great rush and the ball comes out so fast that you really can’t affect it but you have to keep making steady progress.”

Decision on Zach Ertz Looming Large

Zach Ertz remains on the Eagles’ roster despite multiple reports he would be traded in the “coming days.” There are also several people claiming that the three-time Pro Bowler would prefer to be released over traded so he can choose his next destination. Yet, there has been no movement to date.

It’s likely something will happen prior to March 17 as Philly desperately tries to get their salary-cap deficit down. They saved $9.4 million by restructuring Hargrave’s contract on Thursday and $2.4 million from Isaac Seumalo’s tweaked deal on Wednesday. They can save another $4.7 million by shedding Ertz’s contract.


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