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Free Agency Preview: Linebackers

Posted Mar 1, 2016

The Eagles entered the 2015 season with a fully stocked pantry at the linebacker position. DeMeco Ryans was coming off of an injury, but Mychal Kendricks, Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin had entrenched themselves as starters. To add to matters, the Eagles traded LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for Kiko Alonso, a talented young linebacker who wowed in his rookie season of 2013.

Despite this wealth of talent at the position, the Eagles fell victim to the injury bug, as Alonso, Ryans and Kendricks all missed time at one point or another. Alonso missed five games after injuring his knee in the second game of the season against Dallas, and while the injuries did set the Eagles back, they also opened the door for rookie third-round pick Jordan Hicks to step into the spotlight.

Ryans was released in late February, due in part to Hicks’ emergence. While it appears that Hicks will shift into the starting role of middle linebacker in Jim Schwartz’ 4-3 defense, the Eagles can certainly address their depth at the position, either through free agency, the draft or both.

On The Roster

Kiko Alonso, Bryan Braman, Najee Goode, Brandon Hepburn, Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks and Deontae Skinner

*Note: The following players are listed on the current roster as linebackers, but project to defensive end in the new scheme: Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Travis Long, Steven Means and Marcus Smith’s Top Free Agent Linebackers

1. Danny Trevathan, Broncos

2. Derrick Johnson, Chiefs

3. Jerrell Freeman, Colts

4. Mark Barron, Rams

5. Nigel Bradham, Bills

6. Mike Neal, Packers

7. James Laurinaitis, Rams

8. Stephen Tulloch, Lions

9. Tahir Whitehead, Lions

10. Zach Brown, Titans

Top Linebacker Contracts From 2015 Free Agency

1. Pernell McPhee, Bears (5 years, $38.75M total, $15.5M guaranteed)

2. Brian Orakpo, Titans (4 years, $31M total, $13.5M guaranteed)

3. Derrick Morgan, Titans (4 years, $27M total, $10.5M guaranteed)

4. Brooks Reed, Falcons (5 years, $22M total, $9M guaranteed)

5. Dan Skuta, Jaguars (5 years, $20.5M total, $8.1M guaranteed)

6. Curtis Lofton, Raiders (3 years, $18M, $6.5M guaranteed)

7. Bruce Carter, Buccaneers (4 years, $17M, $4.25M guaranteed)

8. Trent Cole, Colts (2 years, $14M, $7M guaranteed)

9. Justin Durant, Falcons (3 years, $10.8M, $1.25M guaranteed)

10. J.T. Thomas, Giants (3 years, $10M, $4.5M guaranteed)

*Contract data is according to

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