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Brandon Brooks to Sign with Eagles: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2016

Oct 8, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans guard Brandon Brooks (79) in action against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles bolstered the inside of their offensive line Wednesday, agreeing to a five-year, $40 million contract with free-agent guard Brandon Brooks, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Mark Berman of Fox 26 confirmed the news.

A third-round pick in 2012, Brooks spent his first four seasons with the Houston Texans. He's been a starter at guard each of the last three seasons, spending most of his time on the right side. The Texans made a concerted effort to re-sign Brooks before free agency began, speaking with his agent at the combine.

"I think you can look through the balance of our roster and see that our good, young football players are guys that we try to extend," general manager Rick Smith said, per Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com. "And certainly Brandon is one of those guys and is a key cog in our offensive line and we would love to have him back."

Given Houston's public push, it's apparent the Eagles came with a better financial offer. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report noted $8 million per season was the likeliest range for Brooks on the open market, which speaks to how highly teams are viewing interior linemen. It wasn't too long ago that you could find a solid starter with upside at guard relatively cheap on the open market.

Now, as teams like the Dallas Cowboys and others have built from within, franchises are seeing how much easier the game can be with five versatile players up front. Brooks is a perfect example given the fact he plays strong against the run and pass. Pro Football Focus ranked him 21st among free agents this offseason, noting he was a borderline elite player in 2013 and 2014.

"Brooks was a top-10 guard in 2013 and 2014 before experiencingย a dip in run-blocking performance last season," wrote PFF's Matt Claassen. "On the plus side, he did have his best year in pass protection, and there is good reason to believe he can bounce back going forward for a team with a zone-heavy offense."

The zone-heavy offense point here is key. Brooks has excelled in part because of the way he fits the pull-blocking system that's prevalent in zone-running schemes. Moving away from his comfort zone would be seen as a major risk.

As it stands, Philadelphia looks like a solid fit, all things considered.ย 

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