The Philadelphia Eagles are bringing in an unconventional pass rusher to make their hybrid defense sing. Former Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers defender Haason Reddick has agreed to terms on a long-term free agent contract with the Eagles, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Why Haason Reddick makes sense for the Eagles defense
The Eagles run a hybrid defensive front that relies heavily on mix-and-match personnel. Reddick is someone who can heighten the confusion of opposing offenses as he can attack from several different spots on the defense. He is coming off back-to-back double-digit sack seasons and can play off-ball linebacker, defensive end, and edge rusher for defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
Given Gannon’s background with the Minnesota Vikings, he is likely to use Reddick in a role similar to how his mentor Mike Zimmer used Anthony Barr. Reddick will mostly play on the strong side, threatening opposing offenses with a pass rush while also having the ability to play in space and stop the run as a linebacker. Reddick will play opposite middle linebacker T.J. Edwards, and both will be able to pressure opposing quarterbacks up the middle.
Reddick’s presence should help defensive ends Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham as well. With Reddick threatening the line behind them, Sweat and Graham can’t be double-teamed like typical 4-3 defensive ends. Running backs and tight ends will need to choose who to chip and will sometimes be stuck in massive mismatches against either Sweat or Graham.
Reddick is a legitimate movable chess piece who can create pressure from literally anywhere in the front seven. He will help the Eagles come up with exotic blitzes and stunts, and he’ll keep opposing offensive coordinators guessing throughout the week and on Sundays.
Looking at Reddick’s contract
According to Garafolo, Reddick will receive a three-year contract worth $45 million with $30 million in guarantees. Reddick, a Camden, New Jersey native, is essentially receiving two years guaranteed to come home. The 27-year-old played at Lincoln Financial Field during his college days with Temple, and he should be able to come in immediately and contribute.
He is from the area, has a support system nearby, and is one of the most consistent defenders of the past couple of years. Reddick’s fit in Philadelphia is much better than his fit in Carolina, and he still had 11 sacks last season.
What this means for the rest of the Eagles defense
Well, the Eagles prioritize their pass rush. And after finishing 31st in the league in sacks last year, the team was definitely going to emphasize adding to the EDGE position this offseason. While the Eagles still have two open spots at safety and an opening at No. 2 CB, the EDGE was always going to be the paramount position for the organization.
With EDGE out of the way, look for the Eagles to prioritize the safety position. Historically, Philly prefers to pay veteran safeties over drafting the position in the early rounds. The same could be said about cornerback with Steven Nelson hitting free agency.