The Philadelphia Eagles have transitioned into the low-budget signing part of free agency. They are looking for spare parts to plug into key positions after letting a slew of starters walk out the door. That’s not a knock on anything or anyone. It’s just the reality of the situation.
The latest depth piece to join the nest is linebacker Nicholas Morrow who projects as a starter alongside Nakobe Dean. (Remember, the Eagles lost last year’s starters T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White in free agency). The 6-foot, 225-pounder spent the 2022 campaign with the Chicago Bears where he racked up a team-high 116 tackles (11 for loss). He started all 17 regular-season games and played 100% of the defensive snaps (1,086), plus 21% of the special-teams snaps (91).
Pro Football Focus ranked him No. 64 out of 81 off-the-ball linebackers last season while handing him a dismal 54.0 overall grade. He was much better in coverage than in run support. Morrow went undrafted in 2017 before catching on with the Las Vegas Raiders. The 27-year-old has endured an interesting career path, one that saw him jump from a one-time backup offensive lineman at Huntsville High School to a starting linebacker at Division III Greenville University in Illinois.
“When I showed up to Greenville, I didn’t think I would make it to the NFL,” Morrow told the Raiders’ website in 2020. “Every week I would just try to compete against my best self, so whatever I did last week, I’d want to do better that week. I didn’t realize I could make it to the league, honestly, until the league called.”
Eagles Officially Announce Justin Evans’ Signing
Morrow’s arrival came one day after the Eagles agreed to terms with safety Justin Evans. The team officially announced the signing of the one-time starter — 24 starts at free safety from 2017-18 — to a one-year deal on March 21.
Evans, a second-round pick in 2017, is the definition of a depth piece after battling a slew of serious injuries during stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. He saw action in 15 games last season while making 29 tackles.
Evans missed the entire 2019 and 2020 seasons while rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon, then sat out the 2021 campaign after being waived with a “failed physical” designation. It was a complicated recovery process, filled with setbacks stemming from a previous toe and heel injury. The Eagles are bringing him into training camp and hoping for the best as he’ll have an opportunity to compete for a starting job against Reed Blankenship, K’Von Wallace, Tristin McCollum, Andre Chachere, and maybe Josiah Scott.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson Throws More Shade
It’s becoming more and more clear why the Eagles decided to move on from C.J. Gardner-Johnson. The newest member of the Detroit Lions took a parting shot at Philly on March 20 during his introductory press conference by saying the talent level on his new team is a “little better.” Sure, okay.
Then, Gardner-Johsnon took the conversation to Twitter where he took aim at Eagles fans for turning on him: “Philly fans call me overrated lol … y’all was just my friend.” He followed that one up by quoting a famous Jalen Hurts’ line: “Hurts don’t it.” Both tweets, which have since been deleted, proved the Eagles made the right decision.