The Eagles added two notable names to their linebacker corps in early August. Roughly three weeks later, one of them is already gone, with former Jaguars standout Myles Jack informing the team of his retirement after Thursday's preseason game.
Jack'sisn't necessarily surprising, considering the former UCLA star revealed this summer that he's recently considered leaving football to pursue trade school. But how does it affect the Eagles' defense going into 2023?
In truth, the 27-year-old Jack wasn't even a lock to make Philadelphia's final roster. Signed to a one-year deal the same day as former Texans and Titans starter Zach Cunningham, he represented last-gasp insurance at a position headlined by 2022 third-round pick Nakobe Dean, who's yet to start an NFL game.
Best-case scenario, Jack would've reclaimed some of the athleticism that marked his earliest days with the Jaguars and opened the year alongside Dean in the starting lineup. But there was a reason he spent almost five months as a free agent after his release from the Steelers in March. He topped 100 tackles for the fourth time in his career as a 13-game starter for Pittsburgh in 2022, but the veteran was limited to primarily second- and third-team snaps this preseason.
So while Jack's retirement doesn't necessarily throw a wrench into an already-thin group on the reigning NFC champions, it probably underscores a few things: Cunningham, his fellow late-summer addition, can for now be penciled in as a Week 1 starter alongside Dean. Durability is a concern, with Cunningham missing 14 games the last two seasons, but the ex-Titan has unteachable size (6-3, 238) that could balance out Dean's stouter build (5-11, 231).
More than that, Jack's departure simply reinforces the notion that the Eagles could use reinforcements at LB. It's a devalued position for general manager Howie Roseman, who would wisely prefer to invest top dollar in the trenches and secondary, but if final roster cuts free up an unexpected starting-caliber vet -- even via trade -- it's not crazy to suggest another shuffle of the starting lineup could be on the horizon. In the meantime, young reserve Christian Elliss is the likeliest candidate to usurp Cunningham as a first-teamer.