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August 09, 2023

Myles Jack, Zach Cunningham give the Eagles much-needed LB depth

The Eagles needed depth at linebacker. Myles Jack and Zach Cunningham will provide that, along with some valuable veteran experience for a group lacking it.

It wasn't exactly comfortable for Myles Jack and Zach Cunningham to be sitting at home into August wondering if a team was going to pick either of them up this year, but once the Eagles came calling, things shifted fast.

For Jack, that call came on Saturday. He had to fly out ASAP for a workout on Sunday, and after a delay and some jetlag, had to clear out from his hotel in the city just as quickly as he arrived.

"I got a return flight so I don't know if I'm staying or not," Jack recalled to the media after Wednesday's practice. "I go work out, everybody tells me, 'Thanks for coming.' I'm thinking I'm going back home, next thing I know I'm getting signed. I got two pairs of draws, two pairs of sweats, two pairs of socks to my name, my bible in my bag, like I don't have anything, I'm staying at the hotel..."


"I wouldn't have it any other way," he continued. "I'm here now, and I went to Ross to buy me some white T-shirts."

So in short, what a relief, for him and Cunningham both — who went through just as fast of a process so late into the offseason.

And maybe some relief for the Eagles too, though the jury's out on that one until we get to start seeing the defense in actual game scenarios.

But if there was anywhere on the depth chart that needed improvement, it was at linebacker, and at the very least, the additions of Jack and Cunningham give the position some veteran experience that was lacking before this week and rarely ever hurts to have — maybe especially in the Eagles' case.

After all, they're trusting a lot to Nakobe Dean by giving him the green dot in year 2 and have promise in Christian Elliss, but as our own Jimmy Kempski noted on Tuesday, Nick Morrow was the only linebacker on the team to play more than 1,000 NFL snaps at the position prior to the recent signings and it wasn't even close.

It's a group that really could stand to benefit from more wisdom, and options. Jack and Cunningham should add both.

"The best linebacker room we could have possible is what's best for the team," Jack said. "So as much talent as we can have, that's the best. I want to be on the best team and I feel like iron sharpens iron, so that's going to bring the best out of everybody.

"Nobody wants to be on a bad team. I've been on bad teams before, so as much talent as you can have in the locker room, I don't think that hurts anybody."

Definitely not the Eagles.

Jack, who was taken 36th overall by Jacksonville in the 2016 draft, spent the majority of his seven-year career so far as a Jaguar and last season with the Steelers.

Cunningham, drafted 57th overall by Houston in 2017, was waived by the Texans mid-season in 2021 then latched on to the Titans from there, though he missed significant time last year with an elbow injury and was released from the team afterward with a failed physical designation.

Neither has put up any real eye-catching numbers throughout their careers, but they've each racked up a ton of tackles and both have stated a willingness to adjust to whatever the coaches need now that they're here and sprinting to learn the playbook.

"Time waits for nobody," Jack said, and he knows that after being on standby all summer for a call.

And so do GM Howie Roseman, head coach Nick Sirianni, and the Eagles as they try to perfect their roster with eyes on another Super Bowl run.

"For us, it's just been hitting the ground running," Cunningham said of his arrival to Philadelphia.

Roseman himself is no stranger to making moves well into training camp or even into the season.

Last summer, he made the trade with New Orleans for safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson just before 2022's kickoff to complete one of the NFL's best defensive backfields. Then, with Jordan Davis injured and Fletcher Cox playing way too many snaps, Roseman signed veteran tackles Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh mid-season, which added enough depth to create one of the most feared D-lines in football.

The Eagles ended up riding all of that to the NFC title.

Now, these depth signings at linebacker probably won't be what puts the team over the edge again, but it does give the Eagles options, and to be here with title aspirations after a summer full of uncertainty, hey, Jack will definitely take that. 

"One week, you're sitting at home, the next you're on a Super Bowl calendar," he said. "It's a blessing."

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