The Philadelphia Eagles made two moves Wednesday afternoon.
The Eagles have agreed to contract terms with playmaking Minnesota Vikings free agent linebacker Eric Wilson, the team announced Wednesday. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Wilson agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3.25 million.
Wilson spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Vikings, and new Eagles defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon, was on Mike Zimmer’s staff during Wilson’s rookie year before joining Frank Reich’s staff in Indianapolis. And Nick Rallis, the Eagles’ new linebackers coach, was on Zimmer’s staff the last three years as assistant linebackers coach. Wilson started four games in 2018 and six in 2019, but last year was his first season as a full-time starter. He had three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, three sacks, eight tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits, and 122 tackles.
Getting a player like Wilson at a fair $3.25 million is a strong move for the Eagles and a sign that perhaps with Gannon on board the Eagles are finally going to start taking the linebacker position seriously.
Before adding Wilson, the Eagles were only spending about $5.1 million in 2021 cap space on all their linebackers combined.
And they haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first two rounds since Kendricks in 2012.
The 26-year-old stands 6-foot-1, 230 lbs. Wilson joins an Eagles linebacker corps that has very little experience beyond undrafted Alex Singleton, who made his first 11 career starts last year, and undrafted T.J. Edwards, who started 12 games last year.
The Eagles are also expected to add Genard Avery into the linebacker mix in some way during the preseason.
Other linebackers on the roster are 2020 3rd-round pick Davion Taylor, 2020 6th-round pick Shaun Bradley and street free agents Joe Bachie and Rashad Smith.
The Eagles and Jordan Howard are giving it another shot, agreeing to a one-year deal to bring back Howard for the 2021 season.
The 26 year-old Howard was waived by the Dolphins last season and re-joined the Eagles as a practice squad member in November. Howard played in two games last season and had seven carries for 27 yards.
While it appears to be a starnge signing because of Howard’s decline in recent seasons, he doesn’t even turn 27 until November and it’s unlikely the Eagles will have to pay him very much. And if Howard can get back to the level he played at early in 2018, he’s a nice companion to Miles Sanders.
Howard will now re-join a running back room that still includes Sanders and Boston Scott. And with 11 picks in the upcoming draft, the Eagles might still add another running back to the mix.