Best Player Or Bold Decision: How Eagles' Howie Roseman Landed on Bryce Huff

The Eagles believe they signed an ascending pass rusher in Bryce Huff.
Eagles edge rusher Bryce Huff.
Eagles edge rusher Bryce Huff. / John McMullen/Eagles SI
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PHILADELPHIA - There was far more to the Haason Reddick trade to the New York Jets than meets the eye, something highlighted by the veteran edge rusher’s attempts to use his spring leverage to get a reworked contract with the Jets.

Add in age, shelf life and even playing time and you’ve started to peel back the onion a bit on a polarizing move for many in Philadelphia who loved a local product like Reddick making good and performing at the highest level with his hometown team.

For a perceived Super Bowl contender to pull the plug on a player with 30.5 sacks over 38 games (a number that includes four postseason encounters), an All-Pro nod, and a wrecked NFC Championship Game on his resume was a bold decision by GM Howie Roseman.

Roseman is trying to walk the tightrope of getting younger and more cost-effective while garnering a reasonable facsimile of the production by signing what the Eagles’ believe in an ascending player in Bryce Huff to a three-year, $51 million contract in free agency, ironically from the Jets.

The decision is probably best explained by a quote from Roseman on the whiteboard of Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry, a former right-hand man of the Eagles’ decision-maker.

Roseman told Berry: "To win a Super Bowl, you either need the best player (e.g. Tom Brady) or make a decision that could cost you your job."

In other words, fortune favors the bold.

Replacing Reddick, who will turn 30 in September, with Huff, 26, isn’t player-for-player because Roseman also expects second-year edge rusher Nolan Smith to step up for the Eagles and wants a more consistent A-to-Z performance from Josh Sweat this season. 

That said, Huff was brought in to be the centerpiece of this pass rush after a 10-sack season while playing in just 480 defensive snaps for the talented Jets defense.

In case you wondering Reddick played 928 snaps over 20 games en route to Super Bowl LVII in 2022-23 when Philadelphia recorded a franchise-record 70 sacks in the regular season and Reddick finished fourth in the Defensive Player of The Year voting. That was followed up by 911 more snaps for the Temple product in 18 games last season.

Reddick has cracked the 800 barrier in four consecutive seasons and five of six and has only been below Huff’s 480 from last season as a rookie off-ball linebacker in Arizona.

The workload is coming for Huff, a player known for his motor, and perhaps the descent is around the corner for Reddick because of the tread that's already been worn.

“Just the same way I’ve always prepared,” Huff said when asked about preparing for his expanded role. “Just honing in on my conditioning and staying strong. Doing a lot of injury prevention work and just staying dialed in on my details.”

The production also must follow but Huff isn’t shy about any expectations, something that dates back to his default mindset of entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis.

“It hasn't necessarily changed,” Huff said. “My mindset has always just been to come in and whatever the coaches give me to execute on the film, do it to the best of my ability so it hasn't really changed."

“... I’ve always trained with the mindset of it only takes one play for somebody to get hurt, God forbid, or somebody miss a game. So I’ve always practice to be fully prepared for any opportunity,” he continued. “I’m just taking that same process into this year and playing my role.”

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John McMullen

JOHN MCMULLEN

John McMullen is a veteran reporter who has covered the NFL for over two decades. The current NFL insider for JAKIB Media, John is the former NFL Editor for The Sports Network where his syndicated column was featured in over 200 outlets including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Miami Herald. He was also the national NFL columnist for Today's Pigskin as well as FanRag Sports. McMullen has covered the Eagles on a daily basis since 2016, first for ESPN South Jersey and now for Eagles Today on SI.com's FanNation. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube.com. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey and part of 6ABC.com's live postgame show after every Eagles game. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen