In an interesting move to address their linebacker woes, the Philadelphia Eagles announced that they have signed veteran linebacker Shaq Leonard to a one-year deal.
The signing comes at a crucial juncture for the Eagles, who are grappling with inconsistencies and injuries in the linebacker position.
Leonard is a former All-Pro and is still just 28 years-old … He had been considering offers from both the Eagles and the rival Dallas Cowboys. (Ironically, the two play this coming Sunday in what is one of the biggest games of the entire NFL season.)
😂Shaq Leonard said: pic.twitter.com/N4o6Srjbgu
— 4th and JAWN (@4thandJawn) December 4, 2023
Leonard, a 2018 second-round pick out of South Carolina State, brings a wealth of experience to the Eagles.
Despite facing challenges, including two back surgeries last season, Leonard was a first-team All-Pro in 2018, 2020, and 2021. His career stats include 614 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, and 17 forced fumbles.
Big Dom with new #Eagles LB Shaq Leonard 😂
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) December 4, 2023
The linebacker’s recent release from the Indianapolis Colts was preceded by concerns about playing time and performance. Leonard had undergone back surgeries to address nerve issues, impacting his explosiveness.
After a period of inconsistent play, Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley informed Leonard of his inactive status against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 26th, with indications that it would continue for the rest of the season.
SHAQ LEONARD IS A PHILADELPHIA EAGLE‼️ pic.twitter.com/uXWalElFvT
— Eagles Nation (@PHLEaglesNation) December 4, 2023
Leonard, in response to his release, had expressed dissatisfaction with his playing time but maintained a respectful tone.
In November, he stated: “I always say that they say (complaints) are OK until you step on toes. I don’t know if that played a part. Do I think it plays somewhat of a part in it? Yes, because they could see it as a distraction. But I tried to be respectful with my answer.”
— Underground Sports Philadelphia (@UndergroundPHI) December 5, 2023
The Eagles are optimistic that Leonard’s addition will provide the necessary boost to their linebacker corps.
Philly’s defense as a whole is nowhere near the level they were last season. They clearly need all the help they can get as we hit the stretch run of the season.
How much do you think Leonard has left in the tank?
How much can the Eagles realistically expect from him?
Who do you think will win the NFC East showdown on Sunday – Dallas or Philly???