The Eagles moved Trent Cole from defensive end to linebacker last season and Cole seemed to find his footing at his new position over the second half of the season.
Cole had eight sacks in the second half of the season, which seemed to convince the Eagles that they didn’t need to hit the free agent market for more help rushing the passer. They did draft Marcus Smith in the first round, but Cole will be back in a leading spot on defense again this year. He expects to be there for several more years as well, especially now that he has a deeper understanding of the team’s defense.
“Everybody says, ‘He’s getting old because he’s on this side of 30,’” Cole said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Man, I’ve got three years left! At least give me three years!”
Coach Chip Kelly said he thinks Cole will be better in 2014 because he has a “better understanding of what we are trying to do” on defense. That includes dropping into coverage, something that Cole didn’t do before last season, but the Eagles need to be better on the pass rush and Cole’s second half output creates some optimism that he’ll be able to help provide that improvement.
Cole, who turns 32 in October, does have three years left on his contract after the 2014 season, but it’s hardly a sure thing that he’ll wind up seeing them. With base salaries starting at $10 million in 2015 and going up from there, Cole’s going to be a pretty expensive piece for the Eagles to fit under the cap. Another strong season will at least make for a tougher decision in Philly.