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T.J. Edwards Grows Into Role, Earns One-Year Contract Extension

The Eagles linebacker has made 44 tackles with an interception and fumble recovery since being installed as the starting middle linebacker four games ago
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PHILADELPHIA – Ever since Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni talked about watering and fertilizing flowers, the team is 3-1.

There has been growth in many places, and linebacker is one of those areas, particularly with T.J. Edwards.

Fresh off another strong game in the middle of the defense, the Eagles rewarded the former undrafted free agent from Wisconsin on Monday morning with a one-year extension to keep him in Philadelphia through 2022.

Edwards is the fifth player the team has extended this season, and the third in the last four days, joining Avonte Maddox and Dallas Goedert, who got new deals during the weekend, and Jordan Mailata and Josh Sweat, who were extended at the start of the regular season.

The contract is potentially worth $3.2 million with $2.15M guaranteed.

That brings the total of the weekend guarantees to around $50M in total.

Edwards made 10 tackles while recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass in Sunday’s 40-29 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Since being installed as the starting middle linebacker on Halloween in Detroit, he has made 44 tackles in four games.

T.J. Edwards after Eagles beat Saints, 40-29, in Week 11

T.J. Edwards after Eagles beat Saints, 40-29, in Week 11

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“I had a role in base packages and base personnels and I was just happy to have a role, to be honest with you,” said Edwards following the win on his role as a reserve earlier in the season. 

“I wanted to do my job the best that I could, and I knew that if I did that the defense would be better. Every week, I’m ready for whatever the coaches want to throw at me.”

The big knock on Edwards since he arrived in 2019 undrafted was that he wasn’t a three-down linebacker, that he was limited in pass coverage.

Asked if he felt like he has answered those doubts, Edwards said: “I don’t know. At the end of the day, I don’t really look at it like that. I just want to do my job the best I can every single week.

“I’m going to give the best effort and I’m going to play as physical as I know how to and let the chips fall. It’s been a big thing all my life as far as being doubted and stuff like that, so that stuff never fazes me.”

What Edwards brings to the table is physicality, and that has been one area where the team has grown the most and has done so on both sides of the ball.

“T.J. brings a physicality that really is contagious. And he continues to come after the ball,” said head coach Nick Sirianni. “You saw the one play (against the Saints) on the swing pass out there where the guy felt T.J. coming. And then he ended up getting - I think he dropped the ball. But T.J. just has that physicality and he's just really playing good football right now.

“And he's a good communicator with the defense and talking to everybody. And so, he's playing really good football. And sure, those guys from Wisconsin, that played as a Badger, my experience with those guys is they're tough and they're nasty and they can play physical ball.”

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.