Eagles acquire LB Sims, Lions land TE Scheffler in three-team trade

PHILADELPHIA -- Looking to upgrade their linebackers, the Eagles hope former first-round draft pick Ernie Sims can be a solution.

The Eagles acquired Sims in a three-way deal with the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos on Monday. Philadelphia dealt a fifth-round pick to Denver, which sent tight end Tony Scheffler and a seventh-round pick to Detroit. The Lions sent Sims to the Eagles.

La Canfora: Eagles score Sims

This is a great deal for the Eagles, who only gave up a fifth-round draft pick to acquire an anchor for the linebacker position, Jason La Canfora writes.

"I'm just real excited," Sims said. "I'm ready for a new beginning."

Last season, the Eagles tried numerous combinations at linebacker -- seven different players started at least one game at one of three spots. But Sims, the ninth overall pick by Detroit in the 2006 NFL Draft, is a versatile player who can go on all three downs. He played weakside linebacker in Detroit 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."

Sims, 25, missed five games last season because of shoulder and hamstring injuries. He has 420 tackles, 2.5 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 released by the team. "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 to the Cleveland Browns and don't plan to re-sign Jeremiah Trotter.

Starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley is expected to return after missing the entire season with a torn knee ligament. The Eagles also acquired linebacker Alex Hall from the Browns in the Gocong deal.

"We are excited to acquire Ernie Sims," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said in the statement. "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.

However, the Lions' coaching staff might 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, Scheffler scored a career-low two touchdowns last season despite starting a career-high nine games. He was plagued by injuries throughout his time with the Broncos.

Scheffler is the latest member of Denver's exceptional 2006 draft class to depart since coach Josh McDaniels replaced Mike Shanahan 15 months ago. Scheffler joins quarterback Jay Cutler, who was traded to the Chicago Bears last year, and wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Miami Dolphins 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, Scheffler's 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 during his rookie season was returning one kickoff for 19 yards.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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