Philadelphia Eagles Linebacker Free Agents: Who Stays and Who Goes?

Dan Pennwyn@@WeBleedingGreenCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  Brandon Jackson #32 of the Green Bay Packers tries to avoid the takle of Ernie Sims #50 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Sunday that they and linebacker Rashad Jeanty (6-foot-2, 243 pounds) has come to an agreement on a one-year contract. With the signing, the Eagles currently have four players signed with the team through the 2011 season.

Jeanty joins the Eagles after spending his 2010 rehabbing a fractured fibula he endured during the Bengals' playoff loss to the New York Jets in 2009.

The other three are Jamar Chaney, Moise Fokou and Keenan Clayton. Chaney and Clayton were both 2010 draft selections, while Fokou was a seventh-round pick in the 2009 draft. Both Chaney and Fokou were part of the Eagles 2010 starting “backers”; Chaney started when Stewart Bradley went down to injury and he (Chaney) played hard-nosed.

There is definitely room for improvement, but he displayed a great wealth of knowledge for the game and maturity when he was asked to step up.

Bradley’s name is what leads me to the article topic. As it stands right now, the Eagles have four of their veteran linebackers who are due to become 2011 free agents pending a new collective bargaining agreement.

Those four players are Stewart Bradley, Omar Gaither, Akeem Jordan and Ernie Sims. Most fans have already written Ernie Sims off as a good trade gone bad and don’t have him seeing Philly green in 2011. To be fair, we could say let's see what a new coach does for him.

Stewart Bradley instantly became a fan favorite when he stepped up twice in two separate games during his rookie season. He displays an extremely fierce playing mentality and has the leadership the defense needs.

His problem is that he is a high-risk player for injuries spending the past two season (2009-10) on the injured reserve list.

Omar Gaither will be entering his sixth season in the NFL and with the Eagles. Gaither has a tremendous understanding of the Eagles' difficult defensive playbook, making him an invaluable asset to the organization.

In addition to serving as quality depth for the linebackers, he also is a key member to the special teams unit.

Last but not least, there is Akeem Jordan, who I feel was robbed from seeing playing time in 2010 by Ernie Sims. Just more proof that where a player gets drafted doesn’t make the player—heart and determination does.

Jordan worked his tail off in going from the Eagles practice squad to becoming a starter in 2009, and he played sound football. Again, there were areas in which he needed to improve, but I liked what I saw from him when he did play.

That’s my take on the current linebacker situation. Most fans agree that somewhere between rounds 1-3, the Eagles will draft a linebacker.

Head on over to Bleeding Eagle Green to vote for (or against) the linebacker free agents on whether they stay in Philly or look for a new home!

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