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February 18, 2018

Eagles stay or go: Inside linebacker

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles' offseason is (finally) underway, let's take a look at each position and figure out which players will be back in 2018, and which ones will be playing elsewhere. Here we'll look at inside linebacker.

Previous "Stay or Go" positional analysis
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end
Offensive tackle | Guard/Center | Defensive end | Defensive tackle

Jordan Hicks

Hicks was a playmaker through his first year and a half in the NFL. In 2015 and 2016, in just 24 games (he missed eight games his rookie season), here were his numbers:

Jordan Hicks Tackles Sacks INT PBUs 
 First 24 games 13514 

That is excellent production for a player as young as he was. Unfortunately, Hicks' list of injuries are piling up:

  1. 2012 (Texas): Missed final 10 games after suffering a hip flexor injury.
  2. 2013 (Texas): Played four games, then ruptured his Achilles and was done for the season.
  3. 2015 (Eagles): Missed final eight games with a torn pectoral muscle.
  4. 2017 (Eagles): Missed the rest of the season after rupturing his Achilles Week 7.

Hicks will be playing on the final year of a cheap rookie contract in 2018. He's not going anywhere, but the Eagles will have to decide if they can count on him to stay healthy long-term.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Dannell Ellerbe

Ellerbe was a late season rental after an assortment of linebackers didn't work out. He is unlikely to be back in 2018, though the team could keep him on speed dial during the season just in case.

#JimmyVerdict: Go.

Your verdict:

Najee Goode

Goode is a versatile linebacker and special teams contributor, which has enabled him to survive on the roster seemingly forever (he joined the team in 2013). Goode is a free agent this offseason. 

MORE ON THE EAGLES: Mailbag: What could the Eagles reasonably expect in return if they traded Nick Foles? | Here's how to relive Eagles' Super Bowl run from beginning to end | Brandon Graham wants a new contract, and the Eagles should give him one | Should the Eagles exercise Nelson Agholor's 'fifth-year option?'

#JimmyVerdictI would imagine the Eagles will once again bring Goode back on a veteran minimum deal, and he'll probably make the team, like he usually does.

Your verdict:

Joe Walker

To make room on the roster for Sidney Jones to play in the Eagles' meaningless Week 17 game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles decided to place Walker on injured reserve with a pre-existing neck injury. In his opportunities to play in 2017, Walker often struggled, though it's fair to point out that he was only a year removed from a torn ACL.

#JimmyVerdict: Walker will be back in training camp in 2018 and should be healthier than he was in 2017, but he'll have to earn a roster spot.

Your verdict:

#JimmyVerdict Stay or Go Results

Green = Stay

Red = Go

Orange = They'll make it to camp, and will have to prove they belong on the roster.

(Note: Some mobile versions will not display colors.)

 QBCarson Wentz Nick Foles Nate Sudfeld  
 RBJay Ajayi LeGarrette Blount Corey Clement Darren Sproles 
 RB (cont) Wendell SmallwoodDonnel Pumphrey Kenjon Barner  
 WRAlshon Jeffery Torrey Smith Nelson Agholor Mack Hollins 
 WR (cont) Shelton GibsonMarcus Johnson   
 TE Zach ErtzBrent Celek Trey Burton  
 OT Jason PetersLane Johnson Halapoulivaati Vaitai Will Beatty 
 OGBrandon Brooks Stefen Wisniewski Chance Warmack  
 C Jason KelceIsaac Seumalo   
 DEBrandon Graham Vinny Curry Derek Barnett Chris Long 
 DE (cont) Steven Means   
 DTFletcher Cox Tim Jernigan Beau Allen Destiny Vaeao 
 DT (cont)Elijah Qualls    
 ILBJordan Hicks Dannell Ellerbe Najee Goode Joe Walker 
 Head coach    
 Defensive coordinator    

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