Philadelphia Eagles must give Josh Sweat more snaps immediately

Josh Sweat, Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Josh Sweat, Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Teams don’t usually give a player a 40 million dollar contract and then sit him for more than half a game. After the Philadelphia Eagles’ loss against the San Francisco 49ers, defensive end Josh Sweat is just as confused as we are.

Why would the Eagles give Sweat a lucrative three-year contract only for Sweat to play 40 percent of defensive snaps on Sunday?

No, this isn’t a rhetorical question. We’d really like to know.

Sweat played less than both Derek Barnett (64 percent) and  Ryan Kerrigan (46 percent), and no matter how you look at it, his lack of playing time just doesn’t make sense.

Head coach Nick Sirianni claimed Sweat’s low usage was situational given the 49ers’ rush-heavy lineup on the field.

It’s true that Sweat is more effective at sacking the quarterback than defending the run, and Philly held San Francisco to 117 yards on their 38 rushing attempts.

But Philly’s pass-rushing unit failed to record a single sack and rarely gave quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo any problems. Given what we saw of the Philadelphia Eagles’ D-line on Sunday, Philly could have used Sweat’s feisty punch and aggression in what was otherwise a limp and timid pass-rushing display.

Why aren’t the Philadelphia Eagles playing defensive end Josh Sweat more often?

Last season, Sweat posted six sacks, 38 combined tackles, and 12 quarterback hits and two passes defended, which no doubt factored into his 40 million contract extension.

So what exactly is Philly paying Sweat for? To sit on the bench?

Even after Brandon Graham exited the first quarter due to a torn Achilles, the Birds opted to play Barnett and Kerrigan ahead of Sweat. Barnett adds an extra ‘oomph’ of leadership, so his minutes may have been more for team morale than team tactics.

But the fact that Kerrigan played more than Sweat should make everybody in Philly’s front office scratch their hands. Kerrigan was a high-profile offseason pickup who also happens to be Washington’s all-time sack leader, but he joined Philly only on a one-year deal.

Philly appeared to place their trust in Sweat by giving him the longer contract extension, but so far, their actions just aren’t matching up.

The only reason we can think of is that Kerrigan has the bigger name. He’s the seasoned veteran, the player more Eagles’ households will likely recognize and more favorably support.

Still, Philly took a bigger chance on and gave the bigger paycheck to Josh Sweat, and not playing him at least as much as Kerrigan (if not more) just makes the franchise look bad. Get your priorities together, Philly.

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The 24-year-old Sweat still has plenty to learn, but he clearly can’t work on his game from the bench.

Somewhere, Philly’s communication lines are all crossed, and they had better sort out their jumbled-up defense in time for Week 3. Without Graham, Sweat could easily be the team’s best defensive end, but it’s up to Sirianni and the other Eagles coaches to swallow their past blunders and finally admit it.