Two years after rewarding Nigel Bradham with a five-year, $40 million extension, the Philadelphia Eagles have parted ways with the veteran linebacker, declining his 2020 option to send the defender to unrestricted free agency on March 18.
That's according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, who first reported Tuesday that Bradham would not return, and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, who said the Eagles technically declined an option in Bradham's contract rather than outright released him.
Either way, the move is notable for a team expected to be active in free agency. The departure of Bradham, who followed defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz from the Buffalo Bills to the Eagles in 2016 and started on Philly's Super Bowl-winning defense the following year, saves the team an estimated $4.5 million in 2020 salary cap space.
Bradham, 30, brought some instant stability to the Eagles' linebacker corps in 2016 following four seasons in Buffalo. He also flashed as one of the club's top defensive leaders during the Super Bowl run, logging 88 tackles and eight pass deflections while filling in for then-injured middle linebacker Jordan Hicks as the unit's signal-caller. Bradham missed one game in 2018 due to suspension, however, and wasn't nearly as impactful in 2019, when he missed four games with an ankle injury and finished with his lowest tackle total in five years.
The Eagles could be in the market for multiple LBs this offseason, with fellow OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill set to hit free agency and only young, rotational reserves -- Nathan Gerry, Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards -- among potential successors in the starting lineup. It's just as likely, however, Philadelphia could opt to allocate savings from Bradham's departure for a bigger splash elsewhere. The Eagles are for Dallas Cowboys free agent Byron Jones, the consensus top cornerback on the market, and could also be on the hunt for wide receiver help following an injury-riddled 2019 at the position.