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August 26, 2018

Eagles release LB Corey Nelson — and likely save a future draft pick in the process

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Carroll - Eagles Stock Corey Nelson Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Corey Nelson during OTAs at the NovaCare Complex.

The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Sunday afternoon that they have released linebacker Corey Nelson. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the release earlier in the day.

Nelson is a former seventh-round pick in 2014 out of Oklahoma. He appeared in all 16 games for the Broncos in 2014, 2015, and 2016, starting five games in 2016. 

Nelson signed with Philly this offseason to take on a "larger role." That never happened, as Nelson was often invisible during training camp, and was thoroughly outplayed by Nate Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill in the competition for the third linebacker spot. 

This was a miss by the Eagles, as they made Nelson something of a priority, signing him on the first day of free agency. However, that miss won't cost them much. Nelson will count for $600,000 on the Eagles' cap (in dead money) for their mistake. By releasing him, the Eagles will save $1 million that they would have otherwise paid him.

More importantly, the Eagles will likely preserve a sixth-round compensatory pick by cutting Nelson. You can read a much more detailed version of how here, but the Cliff's Notes are as follows:

  1. If Caleb Sturgis loses his kicking competition against Roberto Aguayo out in Los Angeles, the Eagles will preserve a sixth-round comp pick they otherwise would have lost if they kept Nelson.
  2. If Sturgis wins that kicking competition, the Eagles will gain an extra seventh-round pick they they otherwise wouldn't have.
Yes, a Chargers kicking competition matters in the analysis of the Eagles' release of a linebacker. Also, yes, the NFL is weird.

To replace Nelson, the Eagles signed linebacker Jaboree Williams. Their depth at linebacker now looks something like this:

OLB Nigel Bradham LaRoy Reynolds Asante Brown (R)
 MLB Jordan HicksJoe Walker Kyle Wilson 
 OLB Nate GerryKamu Grugier-HillJaboree Williams 

The expectation here is that the six guys on the first- and second-team units above will make the roster.

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