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Eagles make a splash, land prized free agent edge rusher

The Eagles are off the to the races in free agency, landing a top edge rusher on the market.

A couple hours into the NFL’s negotiating period, the Eagles have reached an agreement with Jets edge rusher Bryce Huff, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia.

The three-year deal is worth $51.1 million, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. The deal includes $34 million guaranteed, according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz.

There were reports leading up to Monday that the Eagles were very interested in Huff so it’s not a huge surprise that they pounced the first chance they got.

Huff, who turns 26 until next month, is coming off a career season with the Jets in 2023. While he was a situational pass rusher who played just 42% of their defensive snaps, Huff still had 10 sacks and 21 quarterback hits.

The Eagles clearly view Huff as an ascending player who will be entering his prime during this contract.

In recent weeks, the Eagles have been exploring options to trade their starting edge rusher Haason Reddick and/or Josh Sweat. The addition of Huff certainly won’t slow down that process and at this point it would be pretty surprising if both of their starters from 2023 are back. The Eagles late last week also extended veteran Brandon Graham on a one-year deal.

Based on that $51.1 million contract figure, Huff’s APY is just north of $17 million per season. That ranks his 16th in the NFL among all edge rushers, according to OverTheCap.

Huff (6-3, 255) went undrafted out of Memphis in 2020 and signed with the Jets and slowly carved out a role. After 7 1/2 sacks in his first three seasons, Huff had a breakout year in 2023 with those 10 sacks. But the Eagles are clearly projecting  Huff to continue that type of production.

While Huff’s pure stat-sheet production might not wow you, he has been a favorite in the analytics community. In fact, Huff led the NFL with a pressure rate of 21.8% in 2023 among all players with at least 250 pass rushers, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. He also led the NFL in pressure rate in 2022 (25.6%) among players with at least 150 pass rushes.

Here’s a look at the top five from 2023 among players with 250 rushes:

1. Bryce Huff: 21.8%
2. Micah Parsons: 21.4%
3. Josh Allen: 19.6%
4. Nik Bonitto: 18.4%
5. Trey Hendrickson: 18.1%

The big question is whether or not Huff will be able to keep that rate of production in an expanded role with the Eagles. Huff’s career high in defensive snap percentage was 51% in 2021.

But if Huff fits as well in Vic Fangio’s defense as the Eagles seem to think he will, then this deal will be well worth it as the Eagles turn over that side of the roster.

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