Eagles are taking unnecessary gambles by allowing Haason Reddick's market test

While allowing Haason Reddick to test his market is classy, this could end badly for the Eagles. Let's hope it doesn't.

Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles
Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Eagles are undergoing changes this offseason following the club's underwhelming finish to the most recent campaign. They lost five of their six final regular season contests and predictably got crushed in the Wild Card Round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That's given us much to discuss.

After making coaching staff changes, Philly's front office is now preparing for the NFL Combine and free agency. They have also decided to let outside linebacker Haason Reddick seek a trade. However, according to the 29-year-old Camden, New Jersey native, he never asked the organization's permission to seek one.

Are the Eagles moving on from him following two excellent seasons with the club? Opinions vary over whether or not that's wise.

According to Bleacher Report's NFL insider, Jordan Schultz, Reddick told him, "I would like to get an extension done here at home. At no point did I ever tell the organization I want to be traded." The linebacker has one year remaining on his current deal, and Philly has an out worked into his deal this offseason. The dead cap hit would be an expensive $20,665,000, which is obviously something Philly doesn't want to do.

If general manager Howie Roseman doesn't want to extend him past his contract's expiration date in 2025, he would be wise to monitor Reddick's trade value. Maybe he can acquire some draft compensation and perhaps another player in exchange.

The team made the addition of outside linebacker Julian Okwara during the Reddick speculation about his future with the Eagles. Is Okwara potentially part of the replacement plan for the two-time Pro Bowler? For now, Philly may view the Nigerian linebacker as a depth piece who can compete for a roster spot next season.

The Eagles are making a mistake by allowing Haason Reddick to seek other opportunities.

Look, sports are a business, and with it comes tough decisions that a franchise makes, decisions they make in the best interests of the team. Based on his level of play in 2023, it doesn't appear that major regression is coming, but we have been wrong to believe that before.

Allowing Reddick to walk wouldn't be in Philly's best interest considering the rest of the linebacker unit is unproven. Do the Eagles think Reddick's play will gradually decline beginning in 2024? They might, but what do they have outside of him?

Reddick has been a durable player during his seven-year career. He played in all 17 contests with Philly in back-to-back seasons, tallying 27 sacks. In 2023, he was their best and most productive player on defense. The Eagles also dealt with a ton of injuries and inconsistency.

Nakobe Dean's availability was limited to five games during the most recent regular season. His inability to remain healthy will produce concern. Shaun Bradley missed all of the season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in a preseason game. He is an unrestricted free agent and may not return to Philadelphia in 2024.

Nolan Smith looked fairly overwhelmed during his rookie season. He is one player that the club is expecting to make much more of an impact in his second year, particularly if Reddick is not on the Eagles roster. The former Georgia Bulldogs star was a first-round pick in last year's draft. Much is expected of early-round draft selections as it should be.

Nicholas Morrow and Shaquille Leonard were largely unimpressive. Morrow frequently missed tackles and looked too often like a liability. He isn't a true starting middle linebacker. That much is clear. Leonard, after signing toward the end of the season, didn't prove enough to demonstrate he's worth retaining.

Zach Cunningham was better than Smith, Morrow, and Leonard. Would the Eagles consider bringing him back on a one-year deal for depth? He also dealt with injuries in 2023 but locked down a starting role. Considering the lack of production from the other guys at the position and Cunningham's familiarity with new linebackers coach Bobby King, this could be someone the Birds hang a hat on. Remember, Howie Roseman spoke highly of him during the postseason presser.

How much of a priority is the linebacker position for the Eagles this offseason?

Despite being more of an edge rusher than a traditional linebacker, Reddick was the Eagles' best and most consistent player at the position and may have been the defense's best player overall. That isn't up for debate. While the position isn't treated as a priority as often anymore throughout the league, the Eagles have been more negligent in satisfying the unit's needs than most. That must change in 2024.

If Reddick is traded from Philadelphia, the evidence of that mistake will be seen quickly. He will continue to excel. Meanwhile, though it can be seen as a classy move to allow the Pro Bowler to test his market, this could end with the worst-case scenario, losing one of the team's best players, which makes one wonder why the Eagles would dangle Haason in front of needy teams in the first place. This is most certainly puzzling.

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