Eagles: Will Howie make a run at Bobby Wagner?

Linebacker is a huge need for the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. I know, shocker.

Howie Roseman has neglected the position for years now. Since the departure of Nigel Bradham in 2020, the team has made little effort to address the need. During the combine, Howie was asked about his thought process on linebacker and he shared some interesting insight.

In short, Howie wants to find backers who fit into Jonathan Gannon’s scheme. That could be eluding to finding more pass rushing oriented LBs — someone who can play the WILL position at a high level. Or, it could just mean he wants typical 4-3 backers who can play the position in its natural form. Under Jim Schwartz, the Eagles linebackers were typically undersized and the team seemed to value athleticism/coverage ability over prototypical linebacking roles.

We saw T.J. Edwards thrive in his new role this season — playing around the line of scrimmage and looking to wreak havoc in the backfield on every play. If the Eagles want to find another linebacker to place alongside Edwards in the middle of Gannon’s defense, is there any other option that’s better suited to fill this need than Bobby Wagner?

The Pro Bowl/All-Pro backer is now a free agent after his release from Seattle. Wagner was set to enter the final year of his contract, which would’ve saw him earn a base salary of $16.35 million.

At 31 years old (32 by the time next season starts), some may have concerns about his durability moving forward, but Wagner has not shown any signs of slowing down. He’s fresh off a 170-tackle season, a career-high for the future Hall of Famer. From 2016 to 2020, Wagner was the most productive backer in football, earning first-team All-Pro nods in each season during that time. His resume speaks for itself.

Howie has taken big swings on aging free agents in the past. Some have hit, some haven’t. But if the Eagles truly want to add a difference maker on defense, they need to make a run at Wagner. Although they may look to address this need with one of their three first-round picks in the NFL Draft, neither Devin Lloyd nor Nakobe Dean will have the instant impact that Wagner will.

He may cost a pretty penny, but it’s worth it. Wagner would come and instantly make the entire defense better and he would be a great mentor for the young backers on the team like Edwards, Davion Taylor, and Shaun Bradley.

Based on Howie’s comments during the combine, it seems clear that he realizes that linebacker is a position of need. With the solid amount of cap Howie will have at his disposal, he can fill a need for his defense and then some if he pursues Wagner.

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