Grading the Philadelphia Eagles opening week of the NFL New Year
L.J. Fort, LB
Signed a one-year deal
The Eagles have made it pretty clear that they don’t value free agent linebackers much. The last linebacker to earn a nice payday from Philly was Nigel Bradham. And that came after playing two solid years with the team. Jordan Hicks was on the Eagles for the last four seasons, but his injury history made them realize that they don’t want to break the bank on him, so he left off to sign with the Arizona Cardinals instead.
Last year, the Eagles took a chance on former Denver Broncos linebacker Corey Nelson. He was a young linebacker, who had some nice flashes on defense as a starter, and was reliable on special teams. Unfortunately, Nelson didn’t make the cut. This year, the Eagles will roll with a similar strategy by signing L.J. Fort to a one-year deal. Hopefully, the situation is much different.
The Eagles clearly like signing low-risk linebackers. Although Fort doesn’t have much experience as a full-time player on defense, he did impress on film while with the Pittsburgh Steelers when he had the chance. Plus, he’s already established himself as a solid special teamer. The Eagles may not think Fort will be a massive downgrade from Hicks, but they could be heading down that same road once again at linebacker by making Bradham pretty much do everything on his own.