Shaquille Leonard has thrust himself right into the center of the NFC East’s fiercest rivalry.
Leonard, a three-time Pro Bowler with the Indianapolis Colts, has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday. The Eagles later announced the signing.
Leonard visited with the Eagles on Wednesday after he initially visited with the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday. He’s decided to go with first-place Philadelphia for the stretch run as the reigning NFC champions look for a Super Bowl return.
Though it remains to be seen if Leonard will be active, he’s joining the Eagles (10-2) ahead of a massive prime-time showdown with the Cowboys (9-3) on Sunday night. He’ll be looked to bolster a rushing defense that was gashed in a Week 13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
- The First Read: Case for/against top 10 NFL MVP candidates; biggest risers and sliders from Week 13
- Eagles no longer NFC's most dominant team after defense dismantled by 49ers
- 2023 NFL season, Week 13: What We Learned from Sunday's games
Surprisingly waived by Indianapolis, Leonard, 28, will look to amend a celebrated career sidelined by injuries.
Leonard will join an Eagles linebacking corps featuring starters Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham, who’s been dealing with a hamstring injury. If he reclaims his prime form, Leonard would be a massive upgrade, but whether he can do that remains a prevailing question.
Now in his sixth season, Leonard started his career on a Hall of Fame trajectory when he was voted 2018 Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year and accrued the first of his three first-team All-Pro accolades. Injuries hobbled one of the top backers in the game, though.
He underwent back surgery ahead of the 2022 season, in which he played just three games. This year, he started nine games for the Colts, but his play wasn’t at the elite level showcased prior and he grew frustrated with how he was used under a new staff.
For the Eagles, it’s a low-risk signing by general manager Howie Roseman sure to be lauded, as Leonard’s salary is on the Indy books after he cleared waivers. Thus, they get a low-cost addition with an all-star ceiling.
Leonard’s bound for his second NFL squad, looking to reclaim his All-Pro form and help the Eagles fulfill their high 2023 expectations.
Source: Read Full Article