IDP Dynasty Dilemma: T.J. Edwards
Although their season ended with a 38 - 35 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, the Philadelphia Eagles are coming off what may have been one of the franchise’s best seasons on record. However, this offseason has been a tough one for the Eagles, as they saw a number of key defensive players walk in free agency, such as Marcus Epps (S), Javon Hargrave (DT), and Kyzir White (LB). Today, I’ll focus on 3-year starting linebacker, T.J. Edwards, and share my thoughts on his fantasy value for this upcoming season and beyond. The Eagles also lost Edwards in free agency when he signed a 3-year $19.5M contract with the Chicago Bears, which included a $4.5M signing bonus and $7.9M in guaranteed money (@spotrac).
T.J. Edwards' 3 year, $19.5M contract with the #Bears
▪️ $7.9M guaranteed
▪️ $8M in 2023
▪️ 1 year, $8M practical
— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 13, 2023
REASON TO BUY
CONSISTENCY AND DURABILITY
Edwards has accumulated 382 solo tackles and 726 combined tackles in 98 games as a starter, dating back to his redshirt freshman season with the Badgers in Wisconsin. You may say we shouldn’t be looking at his college career when considering adding him to your Dynasty lineup, but his stat line from his two most recent seasons will reassure you. In 2021, Edwards played in all 16 games, recording 64 solo and 130 combined tackles. This past season, he had career highs in his 17 starts with 99 solo and 159 combined tackles.
I’m not sure which stat is more impressive: his consistency since his college debut, managing to average 7.4 tackles per start, or his ability to stay out of the medical tent (having only missed a total of 4 games with a hamstring injury in 2020) in his 8 seasons between Wisconsin and Philadelphia.
REASON TO SELL
LACK OF THE "BIG PLAY FACTOR"
If there’s one thing missing from Edwards arsenal that may turn you away from affording him a roster spot on your dynasty team, it’s going to be the lack of the Big Play Factor (BPF).
Edwards has never been known as a quarterback hunter, and his stat line proves it. With a career high of 2 sacks in any given season, and a total of 5 over his 4 seasons as a pro, his numbers aren’t exactly what a starting off-the-ball linebacker, in his prime, is gloating about in the locker room.
Edwards also isn’t considered a ballhawk in coverage situations. Having led the linebacker group in Philadelphia last year with 1,041 snaps played, he spent more time in coverage than he’s been used to. This allowed him to see a career high of 7 passes defended, yet he couldn’t come away with a single interception.
Yes, Edwards is in a new situation, but he’s heading back to familiar territory, being a Chicago native and growing up a Bears fan just 55 miles from Soldier Field. He won’t be the only new addition to a revamped Bears’ linebacker room to help form the group’s core moving forward, as he’ll be paired with Tremaine Edmunds (2-time pro-bowler and former 2018 Buffalo Bill first round pick).
Living in a salary cap world like the NFL, no good GM wants to have an exorbitant amount of cap watching from the sidelines. With team defensive snap counts being very similar (Eagles 1,106 vs. Bears 1,088, per footballguys.com), I would expect Edwards to have similar playing time to what he saw most recently with the Eagles. For this reason alone, he can be a great safety net linebacker on your roster who you can count on week in and week out. Given his history, you can rely on him to show up and stay healthy providing your dynasty roster with a consistent high floor of production with only upside from there.
Like matching a quality wine to your favorite meal, pair Edwards with a high upside rookie or second-year player like David Ojabo, who may become more of a Big Play Factor (BPF) style, off-the-ball linebacker. Otherwise, you can take a risk on a veteran guy like Randy Gregory. He may have trouble staying on the field because of his injury history, but comes with a ton of BPF if he can stay on it. In the end, you’ll sleep well knowing you bought T.J. Edwards.