The Eagles already have taken a hit in free agency.
NFL Network is reporting that middle linebacker T.J. Edwards has agreed to a three-year deal with the Bears. Free agency begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Edwards, 26, is from the Chicago suburbs and grew up a Bears fan. He was the Eagles’ leading tackler last season with a career-high 159, second in the NFC.
The undrafted free agent from Wisconsin played four seasons for the Eagles. He also called their defensive signals. NFL Network reports the deal is for $19.5 million, with $12 million guaranteed.
Edwards’ signing agreement opens the door for highly regarded second-year linebacker Nakobe Dean, the 2022 third-round pick. Dean will get an opportunity to take over the middle linebacker position.
However, Dean barely played on defense this season with only 34 defensive snaps as Edwards and Kyzir White played so well. Dean did have 75 percent of the special teams snaps.
The Eagles’ other starting linebackers are Haason Riddick, who split time at edge, and White, who is a free agent.
Teams could begin to negotiate with free agents at noon Monday and NFL Network made its report within an hour.
Pro Football Focus said: “Edwards was one of just four linebackers in 2022 to earn grades above 75.0 in both run defense and coverage, and the former undrafted free agent in 2019 may still not have a super strong market this offseason with just 1.5 seasons as an every-down starter.
“All evidence we have thus far indicates he can continue to play at an extremely high level going forward, and he deserves a strong multi-year deal that reflects that.”
EKELER SEEKS TRADE
Productive Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has asked for permission to seek a trade, ESPN reported. The request came when contract negotiations stalled between Ekeler and the Chargers. Of course, the Eagles are likely to lose free agent Miles Sanders and could be in the market for a replacement. Ekeler, 27, caught a career-high 107 passes last season and rushed for 915 yards, 4.5 yards per carry.