Eagles top 25

After disappointing end to 2023, Sweat still important in 2024

Josh Sweat takes his spot on the list of most important Eagles of 2024.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Over the next few weeks leading up to training camp, we’ll be counting down the top 25 most important Eagles for the 2024 season.

25. Brandon Graham
24. Nakobe Dean
23. Milton Williams
22. Jake Elliott
21. Nolan Smith
20. Cooper DeJean
19. Reed Blankenship
18. Tyler Steen
17. Devin White
16. Quinyon Mitchell
15. Jordan Davis
14. Landon Dickerson
13. C.J. Gardner-Johnson
12. Dallas Goedert
11. Josh Sweat

There might not be any Eagle with as much riding on the 2024 season as Josh Sweat.

The 27-year-old is back for his seventh NFL season with the Eagles after agreeing to a renegotiated contract and Sweat will have a lot to prove this year. 

It could go either way. 

If it goes well, he will prove to the league that he’s still a premier pass rusher in his prime. If it doesn’t go well, then it will show that his awful second half of the 2023 season was no fluke. Sweat’s next contract will be dependent on his play this season.

Sweat had 6 1/2 sacks last year and they all came in the first nine games of the season. He was shutout the second half of the year:

First 9 games of 2023: 6 1/2 sacks, 6 TFLs, 16 QB hits, 2 FF

Last 8 games of 2023: 0 sacks, 1 TFL, 7 QB hits, 0 FF

The tricky thing here is that the entire Eagles’ defense struggled down the stretch. It wasn’t just Sweat. But it’s hard to ignore his steep decline in production.

In late December, Sweat claimed he wasn’t worried that the sacks had dried up.

“It’s like the holy grail number,” Sweat said in a story that was published in Dec. 29. “If you want to question it, you can just turn on the film and see how close I am.

“We’ve been battling with pass defense all year, whether that’s D-line, whether that’s secondary, whatever. The ball’s been out fast as s—. I’m winning. I got more pressures this year than I had probably combined in my career, more hits and I’m winning (rushes).

“It’s just not showing up how I want it to. I’m affecting the quarterback. That’s all I can say. I am affecting the quarterback more than I ever have in my career, at a higher level than I ever have in my career, won more rushes. The sacks just haven’t been hitting but I’ve been rushing better than I have in my career. I’m even way better than I was last year with my rushes in terms of how much I’m around the quarterback, how much I’m hitting and how much I’m pressuring. That’s what keeps me going. Whether it (the sacks) comes or not, I’m going to keep affecting the quarterback.”

For what it’s worth, Sweat did have one of four sacks in the Eagles’ playoff loss to the Buccaneers.

Entering last season, Sweat had improved every single year in the NFL. He went from a fourth-round afterthought to a key rotational player and then a starter, Pro Bowler and double digit sack guy in 2022. So to completely write off Sweat after one awful half a season seems unfair.

In 2024, Sweat will return as a starting edge rusher but will pair up with Bryce Huff on the other side. His former running mate Haason Reddick was traded to the Jets. Without Reddick’s production, everyone else will need to fill the void. That means Huff, Sweat, Brandon Graham and even Nolan Smith will need to do more.

But of that group, Sweat arguably has the most on the line. Huff just signed a three-year deal, Graham is set to retire and even Nolan Smith has two more years after 2024 on his rookie contract. It’s a big year for Sweat, who is now wearing No. 19.

Subscribe to Eagle Eye anywhere you get your podcasts: 
Apple Podcasts | YouTube Music | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | RSSWatch on YouTube

Contact Us