Philadelphia Eagles: What to do without Worrilow?

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

With Paul Worrilow’s tenure in the City of Brotherly Love now over, how will the Philadelphia Eagles address their linebacker depth moving forward?

When the Philadelphia Eagles signed Delaware Blue Hens alum Paul Worrilow to a one-year, $880,000 contract, it looked like a seriously high-upside move.

After amassing (almost) three straight 100 tackle seasons right out of the gate, Worrilow watched his playing time drop considerably with the addition of supremely talented LSU linebacker Deion Jones in the final year of his four-year rookie contract.

Entering the open market with a whimper, not a roar, Worrillow signed a one-year, $3 million deal to join the Detroit Lions, where he once again spent time as a part-time linebacker as the team’s base defense starter.

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But through it all, fans in the Delaware Valley still recall Worrilow’s dominance with the Blue Hens and rejoiced at his decision to return home fresh off the Eagles’ Super Bowl win.

However, mere hours after waiving Mychal Kendricks to open up a starting spot at weakside linebacker, Worrilow’s 2018 season was cut to a premature conclusion – tearing his ACL on his first day on the field.

Though losing Worrilow was lamented as a truly unfortunate occurrence, especially when free-agent target Corey Nelson failed to live up to his Denver Broncos pedigree, it forced the Birds to get creative in filling their vacancy – especially since Nigel Bradham was to be suspended for Week 1 – and gave then-special teams specialists Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nathan Gerry an extended look against live snaps.

Clearly, KGH took that opportunity and ran with it.

Fast forward one summer and Worrilow’s status changed considerably.

With Jim Schwartz‘s starters locked into place in KGH, Bradham, and Washington transplant Zach Brown, Worrilow, at the tender age of 29, was forced to compete for a reserve role alongside Gerry, L.J. Fort – and his three-year contract – and the deep reserve duo of Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards.

Spoiler alert, he lost.

Despite being listed as the team’s second-team middle linebacker behind Bradham, Worrilow nary flashed over the course of the summer and was swiftly released from his unguaranteed contract two weeks removed from opening day.

While it will be incredibly interesting to see if Worrilow will be able to find a new gig before the regular season starts, with a distinct destination being a return to Atlanta, how will Philly go about replacing his production (if you want to call it that) in the middle?

They probably won’t.

While losing a primary reserve to injury or release typically results in a corresponding move to bolster the position – just ask Josh McCown and Nate Sudfeld – the Eagles usually only have two linebackers on the field at any given time since their base defense is essentially the nickel package. With a trio of starters on the roster in Brown, Bradham, and Grugier-Hill presumably rotating in and out in various packages, it’s totally possible the team could forgo adding an additional inside linebacker who would seldom see the field barring injury.

Furthermore, after watching the dynamic duo of Andrew Sendejo and Johnathan Cyprien shine in the preseason playing safety in and around the box, it looks like the Eagles could rely much more heavily on their big nickel package regardless of down and distance, limiting the need for a veteran reserve linebacker who provides little-to-no value on special teams.

For better or worse, players like Gerry, Singleton, and Edwards provide much more value than Worrliow because of their abilities to play both linebacker and special teams.

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So while it is unfortunate that Paul Worrilow couldn’t make good on his hometown(ish) team one year removed from an ugly injury, it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles will be just fine without the 29-year-old on their roster this fall.