The Eagles aren't letting go of their most important free agent.
Nigel Bradham isn't going anywhere.
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The Eagles and Bradham reached a five-year deal to keep the veteran linebacker in Philadelphia through 2022. The deal is worth $40 million, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
"Nigel plays with tremendous energy and fire and has made a number of impact plays for us at the linebacker position," the Eagles said in a statement. "Keeping him here was a priority of ours and we are looking forward to his future here in Philadelphia."
Bradham, 28, came to the Eagles as a free agent before the 2016 season and has grown into an important starting linebacker in Jim Schwartz's defense. During the 2017 Super Bowl run, Bradham took over defensive play-calling responsibilities for Jordan Hicks. Schwartz, toward the end of the season, tried to stress just how important that role was for his defense.
The last two seasons have been the best of Bradham's six-year career. He had experience under Schwartz during the 2014 season in Buffalo so he was a natural fit for the Eagles and quickly became a big piece of a championship defense.
During his first season in Philadelphia, there were two run-ins with the law that threatened to derail his career with the Eagles. First, he was involved in an alleged assault in Miami and then he mistakenly tried to walk through airport security with a gun in his backpack. Bradham accepted a deferred prosecution program in the former and charges were dropped in the latter. This season, Bradham was happy to be able to focus purely on football.
While Bradham is coming back, the future looks a little cloudier for longtime Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks, who has a salary cap hit of $7.6 million in 2018. According to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Eagles have started to look for a trade partner for Kendricks. Last offseason, Kendricks asked for a trade out of town, but the Eagles decided to keep him, which paid off.
Presumably, Bradham and Hicks will start for the Eagles and be on the field for the majority of snaps in 2018, as long as Hicks is healthy. That was the plan in 2017 before Hicks tore his Achilles. The Eagles are in their nickel package so much, they really have just two starting linebackers.
The team is also signing linebacker Corey Nelson from the Broncos, a league source confirmed Tuesday.