Here’s the official press release from the Eagles by David George:
“The Eagles signed veteran linebacker Dannell Ellerbe to the active roster Monday morning. To make room, the Eagles waived cornerback Dexter McDougle.
“Ellerbe last played with the Saints in 2016, starting in eight games and registering four sacks to go along with two passes defensed. Ellerbe was placed on the Saints’ Injured Reserve list with a foot injury in July before being released in August.
“The ninth-year veteran joins his fourth team in Philadelphia having spent time with the Ravens, Dolphins, and Saints. Throughout his career, Ellerbe has played in 77 games, notched 10.5 sacks, 12 passes defensed, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles.
“The Hamlet, North Carolina native went undrafted out of Georgia back in 2009 before signing with the Ravens. In Philadelphia, Ellerbe reunites with teammates Torrey Smith and Corey Graham after the trio spent a season together in Baltimore 2012. The three teammates won the Super Bowl back in the 2012 season, knocking off the 49ers, 34-31. Eagles personnel execs Joe Douglas and Andy Weidl were also with Ellerbe in Baltimore.
“I came here to play so whatever happens, happens. If it takes a week or two I’m cool with that but as long as I can get out there and be able to play,” Ellerbe said. “I’m just happy to be here right now so I can slow down and get into the playbook and just focus on football.”
Dave Spadaro likes the pickup of Ellerbe—
“For a team that lost starting middle linebacker Jordan Hicks for the season with an Achilles tendon injury, the Eagles have more than gotten by the last couple of weeks with Joe Walker starting in the middle, Mychal Kendricks playing some of the best football of his career at the WILL position, and with Nigel Bradham as steady as he comes on the strong side. Najee Goode has given the Eagles security depth at all three positions, but adding somebody like Ellerbe, who has been a quality player in his injury-scarred career, certainly aids the cause.”
Ellerbe is almost 32 years old but still has a lot left in the tank, according to Nigel Bradham:
“He’s a hitter,” said Bradham. “For those of us who’ve been following the game for a while, we’ve all seen him play. He’s a physical, hard-nosed linebacker. He’s got speed. He’s going to be a great addition for us. And he added depth. We’re deeper now.”
I’m still not sure how Ellerbe will fit into the LB rotation. He’s basically a middle linebacker. At 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, Ellerbe could help on base downs. But against Denver, MLB Joe Walker played just 12 snaps as the Eagles opted to swap out a linebacker for a defensive back, going with the Nickel sub package on 41 of 60 defensive plays, per Next Gen Stats. In those scenarios, Philadelphia slid outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks toward the middle of the defense, replacing him with an in-box safety, or aligned fellow outside backer Nigel Bradham and Kendricks over the defensive tackles in a 4-2-5 look.
I guess Ellerbe is primarily an insurance policy against a possible injury scenario involving Joe Walker. Ellerbe has not played special teams since 2012.
Ellerbe is not an expensive player at this point in his career. Last year with the Saints, Ellerbe took a paycut from $6.5 million to $4.1 million. My guess is he is on board with a 1-year contract worth $1.5 million for the rest of this season with a bunch of incentives.
I’d say that’s good value for Eagles linebacker insurance.