In the trade, the Eagles sent a fourth round pick in the 2012 draft to Houston. The fourth round pick is the fourth overall selection in that round, which they had acquired from Tampa Bay. They also swapped third round picks with Houston, meaning the Eagles dropped 12 spots in the third round.
Ryans is due base salaries of $5.9 million this year, $6.6 million in 2013 and $6.8 million in 2014 and 2015.
He will count $3.75 million against the Eagles’ cap this year [his base salary minus his pro-rated signing bonus].
Ryans, 27, was selected by the Texans in the second round of the 2006 draft and has spent all six seasons with the Houston Texans, where he established a reputation as one of the best middle linebackers in the game.
He earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2006, collecting 155 total tackles, and was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2007 and 2009 season.
He signed a six-year, $48 million extension in March 2010 but the past two seasons have been unsuccessful for Ryans. He tore his Achilles tendon in 2010 and missed ten games, and he collected just 64 tackles in 2011, easily a career-low.
Ryans played in a 4-3 throughout all of college and his first four seasons in the NFL. Before 2010, the Texans changed to a 3-4 defense, and Ryans really hasn’t fit in. The move to Philadelphia, where he will go back to a 4-3 defense, should help increase his tackles next year.
The signing of Ryans is more than just the addition of a great player. This is a guy who established himself as one of the leaders on Houston and he will likely become a fan favorite in Philadelphia rather quickly.
Veteran cornerback Asante Samuel will likely be traded this offseason, and he (or Trent Cole) have probably been the heart and soul of the defense for the past several seasons. Last year’s free agent signing Cullen Jenkins emerged as a vocal leader in the locker room but the acquisition of a reliable linebacker, something the Eagles have desperately lacked, could make Ryans the unquestioned leader of the Eagles defense.
His addition to the defense will move third-year linebacker Jamar Chaney back to the strong-side, where he is probably better suited at anyway. The remaining starting linebacker spot will be left up to Brian Rolle, Akeem Jordan, Moise Fokou, Keenan Clayton, and Casey Matthews, although I think the Eagles will add yet another player through free agency or the draft (and don’t expect all five of those guys to make the 2012 roster).
As a fan, I could not possibly be more pumped about this trade. It’s one thing to continually hear that the Eagles are going to improve on their linebacking corps but it’s another to see it actually happen. I was worried that the Eagles were going to acquire someone who wasn’t that good, or who was 35, or injury-prone, or all three.
Not Ryans. This guy is a playmaker. He’s a tackling machine, which is truly a blessing for Eagles fans. We haven’t seen a solid middle linebacker since Jeremiah Trotter left, and this includes nine different starting middle linebackers over the past three seasons (NINE!).
The interesting thing is whether this affects the Eagles’ draft plans at all. If they originally were planning to take Luke Kuechly with their first round pick, I think they’ll end up picking a different player. Either way, I want another linebacker added.
The 2011 Eagles received a bundle of criticism for, well, just about everything that they did all season. But in reality, the defense ranked eighth in points allowed, and the trade for DeMeco Ryans puts this team in very good shape heading into 2012.