Stephen Tulloch's long, strange offseason has landed him a new deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team announced on Monday.
Tulloch spent the last five years with the Detroit Lions, appearing in all 16 games in a season four times during that span. His declining performance over the last two years seemed to make him expendable.
The Lions dragged out Tulloch's situation, as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported in February the team informed him that he would be released after the new league year began. He even went so far as to announce his departure on Instagram:
However, Tulloch remained with the Lions when the league year started in March, and they paid him a $500,000 roster bonus. He was excused from the team's minicamp in June and offered an explanation for the delay in his situation, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press:
Obviously, I was told back in February that the team kind of wanted to go in a younger direction, which is understandable, but we had some things to work out in between, between that. That’s why, kind of, things haven’t really unfolded. But hopefully, we can resolve things in the next couple days ... and kind of get things under wrap and we can kind of finalize things.
It wasn't until July 5 that Tulloch was finally released by the Lions, but it was an opportune time for the 10-year veteran to become a free agent. Teams were getting ready to start training camp and preseason injuries could open up a roster spot.
Even though Tulloch is 31 years old, his performance in certain areas of the game remains high. Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus noted his 40 run stops last season were tied for the fourth most among inside/middle linebackers.
Tulloch is no longer a good coverage player, limiting his upside, but he remains a good depth player who will impact his new team when trying to stop the run. He's also not going to cost a lot of money, making this a smart deal for the Eagles.