5 defensive eagles who have something to prove in 2022 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
NFL training camp is fast approaching and we recently took a look at five strikers who have something to prove in 2022.
Today we’re highlighting five defenders who have a lot to prove for a variety of reasons. Here they are in alphabetical order:
As the Giants tried to trade him, they ended up keeping Bradbury into the new league season and didn’t cut him until May, after most teams had already used up most of their cap spot. The Eagles ended up signing him to a one-year contract worth $7.25 million (and up to about $10 million). That’s not a bad salary for one year, but it’s not the $15 million a year deal he signed to join the Giants back in 2020. After the 2020 Pro Bowl season, Bradberry hasn’t been as good in 2021. interceptions, Bradberry was no longer the same player in his second season in New York. ProFootballFocus ranked Bradbury 58th among cornerbacks last season, after finishing 6th a year earlier.
Turning 29 in August, Bradberry has a chance this season to prove he’s still one of the NFL’s best defensemen. One of the main reasons he joined the Eagles was Jonathan Gannon’s scheme and Gannon’s penchant for using zone coverage. Bradberry has traditionally flourished in the zone. If he can do it again in 2022, he could leave the Eagles with a big post-season free agent deal.
On the one hand, what the hell does Cox have to prove to anyone? He was selected in the first round, made to six Pro Bowl teams, and earned over $100 million in his 10-year NFL career. He is already one of the greatest players in franchise history. But Cox didn’t live up to that standard in 2021, a season he acknowledged had its ups and downs for him. The Eagles released him in the offseason to avoid paying $18 million in guaranteed money, but then returned him to a $14 million one-year contract for the 2022 season. This kept him in the top 10 highest paid defensemen in the NFL.
Last December, after his streak of six consecutive Pro Bowls – one short of Reggie White’s franchise record of seven in a row – ended, Cox said he “can still play at the same level.” Cox said he knew he was still one of the best defensemen in the NFL. Let’s see if he can prove it in 2022.
I am Dean
Of course, every NFL rookie has something to prove. In this respect, Dean is the same as everyone else. But many also considered him a first-round pick, having fallen out of the first and second rounds to the Eagles circles at number 83 in the third round. While Dean has said that freefalling on draft day won’t be one of his main sources of motivation…but on some level, it will stay with him. The main reason why Dean fell so far was the fear of injury, mostly in the chest. There have been some reports that he needs surgery and may be eyeing a redshirt rookie season. The Eagles immediately said after the draft that this was not the case. Dean was on the field during the OTA and should be ready to play in his first year.
While in Georgia, Dean led the best defense in the country and helped the Bulldogs win the national title. While Dean was the leader of this team, he watched as seven of his teammates heard their names before him. This season, he has a chance to prove that he can play a decisive role at the NFL level.
This offseason, the Eagles tried to make a splash in the safety position, but failed to get Marcus Williams, Justin Reed, or Tyranne Mathieu. In the end, they signed Jakiski Tart very late, giving them a trio of Tartt, Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps who were vying for playing time. Follow Epps. Because despite their attempts to sign a well-known free agent, the Eagles kept talking about the safety of a junior in Wyoming.
We’re yet to see how this safety position performs, but Epps has a chance to solidify himself as a high-level NFL defensive end this season. Oh yeah, and he’s entering contract season. In 2022, he will play the final year of his four-year rookie contract.
Ahead of a major breakout season with the Chargers in 2021, White was looking to cash in on a big multi-year deal. Did not happen. White accepted, joining the Eagles on a one-year contract worth just $3 million, with a potential value of up to $5. That’s a pretty low salary for a guy who had 144 tackles, 7 TFLs, 2 TFLs and 2 steals and started all 17 games last season.
White, 26, is likely to feature prominently in the Eagles linebacker in 2022 alongside Dean, T.J. Edwards and Davion Taylor. White is likely to be a starter on the weak side in 2022, with a chance to prove his breakout season was no fluke and make some money in the process.
Bonus: Arren Siposs
While he started off pretty well last season, player Arren Siposs really struggled towards the end of the 2021 season. He ranked 24th in the league in net rushing average (out of 29 players who qualified) with 38.8 yards per point and 26th in 43.9 yards average. In the last six games of the season (including a playoff loss in Tampa), Siposs averaged only 37.0 yards per punt. Despite all this, he is the only player on the roster of 90. Could the Eagles sign another player at some point? Of course. But Siposs will have the opportunity to prove himself at the training camp, and then, probably, in the season.
Siposs, 29, played his first NFL games last season, so there’s hope he’ll get better. The Eagles really like their field goal, which is owned by Siposs. And kicker Jake Elliot is ending a year as a player, so you can see why the Eagles have been slow to make changes. But this is not the main work of Siposs. He needs to become the best player in 2022.
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