Report: Eagles lose out on Pro Bowl linebacker to NFC team
We are less than 24 hours removed from the spontaneous release of LB Jaylon Smith and the Eagles appeared to be jockeying with another division rival for his services.
According to Dallas writer Clarence Hill Jr., the Eagles and Giants were among teams showing interest in the former Cowboy:
Hearing the Giants and Eagles might be among the teams showing interest in Jaylon Smith— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) October 6, 2021
Update: the Packers have emerged as the lead candidate to sign Jaylon Smith:
Source: The Packers are, in fact, the likely landing spot for former #Cowboys Pro Bowl LB Jaylon Smith. They are finalizing details.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2021
It isn’t difficult to understand why the Eagles kicked the tires on Smith. Their current starting linebackers have been underwhelming thus far:
Opposing QBs when targeting Eagles LBs:
|Alex Singleton||Eric Wilson|
|19/19 — 100% comp.||12/13 — 92.3% comp.|
|152 yards||118 yards|
|2 TDs||1 TD|
|135.1 passer rating||98.1 passer rating|
A recurring theme since Jordan Hicks left, the Eagles need help over the middle. Smith is 5th in the NFL in tackles since 2018, but he struggles quite a bit in coverage and doesn’t run like he used to.
With the emergence of rookie Micah Parsons combined with the established roles of Keanu Neal and Leighton Vander Esch, Smith became expendable in Dallas. Not to mention the Cowboys have 4th-round pick Jabril Cox waiting in the wings as well.
Smith’s price tag was also a factor in his release as he was entering the second year of his $68M contract. As a result, he’ll cost Dallas $6.8M against the cap next season.
For now, it looks as though the Eagles will have to work with what they have on defense. That means it’s up to Jonathan Gannon to adjust his scheme — perhaps he should start with not matching up Eric Wilson on the league’s top receivers.
As for the future of the position, the Eagles will have plenty of draft capital to utilize next year. They might want to take a long look at Christian Harris out of Alabama.
Jonathan Gannon: “We’re not a dime team,” when asked why the #Eagles don’t go with 6 DBs vs. 11 on 3d and longs.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) October 5, 2021
“We go with four down and 2 LBs.”
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey McWhorter | Dallas Morning News