NFL Free Agency: Eagles re-sign LB Nigel Bradham to five-year, $40M deal

The biggest story of this week for the Philadelphia Eagles, outside of a soon-to-be finalized trade for Michael Bennett, might have been the team's efforts to get under the 2018 salary cap. A day before the official start of free agency, in fact, the Eagles reportedly shuffled $7.5 million of Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson's contract in order to free up space, then parted ways with their longest-tenured player, tight end Brent Celek, to make more room.

On Wednesday, hours ahead of the signing period's 4 p.m. kickoff, Philadelphia has made it clear that the salary cap isn't going to be a problem, announcing it will re-sign outside linebacker Nigel Bradham to a five-year, $40-million extension. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the signing. 

Bradham's deal was believed to be a priority for the Eagles entering the offseason, especially after the former Buffalo Bills starter assumed a leadership role in the absence of injured middle linebacker Jordan Hicks during the team's 2017 Super Bowl run. It was also pegged as unlikely in some circles, primarily because of the team's once-cap-strapped budget.

A favorite of Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who tutored him in Buffalo and assigned him headset duties after Hicks went down in 2017, Bradham logged 88 tackles in 2017. That total was down from his 102-tackle debut with the Eagles in 2016, but the consensus in Philadelphia was that Bradham played more of an imposing role in 2017, often serving as the lone linebacker on the field in pass-heavy downs.

Bradham's new deal could be paired with the departure of one of his fellow linebackers, however, as PhillyVoice's Jimmy Kempski and The Philadelphia Inquirer's Zach Berman speculated on Twitter. In order to ensure room for Bradham, Bennett and whomever else the Eagles target in free agency, six-year veteran Mychal Kendricks could conceivably be dangled in trade talks.

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