Eagles get Sims, Lions get Scheffler, Broncos pick
PHILADELPHIA – Looking to upgrade their linebackers, the Philadelphia Eagles are hoping former first-round pick Ernie Sims can be a solution.
The Eagles acquired Sims in a three-way deal with Detroit and Denver on Monday. Philadelphia dealt a fifth-round pick to the Broncos, who are sending tight end Tony Scheffler and a seventh-round pick to the Lions.
“I’m just real excited. I’m ready for a new beginning,” Sims said.
Last season, the Eagles tried numerous combinations at linebacker. Seven different players started at least one game at one of the tree linebacker spots. Sims, the ninth overall pick in the 2006 draft, is a versatile player who can play three downs. He played weakside linebacker for the Lions, and likely will compete with Akeem Jordan for the starting job in Philadelphia.
“I’ve been competing my whole life,” Sims said. “I don’t expect to come in and just be handed a job. I expect to come in and work for my position.”
The 25-year-old Sims missed five games last year with shoulder and hamstring injuries. He has 505 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, five forced fumbles and one interception in 59 games, including 56 starts.
“Ernie Sims is an impact player at the linebacker position,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said in a statement. “He brings a lot of energy to our already energized defense. We are looking forward to adding him to our team.”
The Eagles parted with three veteran linebackers who started a combined 28 games last season. They released Will Witherspoon, traded Chris Gocong and don’t plan to re-sign Jeremiah Trotter.
Starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley is expected to return after missing the entire year with a torn knee ligament. The Eagles also acquired linebacker Alex Hall from Cleveland.
“We are excited to acquire Ernie Sims,” general manager Howie Roseman said. “He plays fast, he’s aggressive and his style is a great fit for our defensive scheme. He is a leader who was a team captain for the Lions and we are eager to see what he can do in our defense.”
The Lions had a need at tight end because Casey FitzSimmons retired last week, taking the team’s advice after he was still feeling the effects of a concussion, and 2009 first-round pick Brandon Pettigrew is recovering from surgery on his left knee.
Detroit seems to have created a void at linebacker, trading Sims and choosing not to re-sign Larry Foote.
But the coaching staff may not view Sims as much of a loss. He struggled to stay healthy last season after starting all 16 games in his first three seasons. When Sims did play, he didn’t appear to perform as well as rookie DeAndre Levy.
Scheffler, a restricted free agent, had been skipping the Broncos’ offseason program. Drafted out of Western Michigan in the second round in 2006, he scored a career-low two touchdowns despite starting a career-high nine games last season. He was plagued by injuries throughout his time with the Broncos.
Scheffler is the latest member of Denver’s exceptional draft class of 2006 to depart since coach Josh McDaniels replaced Mike Shanahan 15 months ago. He joins quarterback Jay Cutler, who was traded to Chicago last year, and wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was traded to Miami last week.
Scheffler was one of several holdovers from the Shanahan era who saw their roles reduced under McDaniels last season, and he was suspended for the season finale along with Marshall because of his attitude.
Still, his departure means the Broncos have a void at tight end, where Daniel Graham is almost exclusively a blocker and second-year pro Richard Quinn, a second-round pick last year, has yet to catch his first NFL pass. Quinn’s only contribution his rookie season was returning a single kickoff for 19 yards.
– AP sportswriters Larry Lage in Detroit and Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this report.
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