PHILADELPHIA -- Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Takeo Spikes was released by the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, the second high-profile player cut by the Eagles in a week.
Defensive end Jevon Kearse was released last Thursday after four seasons in Philadelphia. Releasing Spikes saves the Eagles $5 million under the salary cap.
Spikes finished second on the team with 139 tackles in his only season with the Eagles. The 10-year veteran missed the final two games after having shoulder surgery in December.
The 31-year-old Spikes was acquired in a trade with Buffalo last March. Known for being a playmaker throughout his career, Spikes had no interceptions or forced fumbles in Philly.
The move likely means second-year pro Stewart Bradley will take over as the starting middle linebacker, while Omar Gaither moves to the weakside spot to replace Spikes. Chris Gocong is the strongside linebacker, giving the Eagles a young group of starters. Akeem Jordan is fourth on the depth chart.
"Takeo did a really good job for us last year," Eagles coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "But we are excited about the young linebackers that have developed over the last year. We wish Takeo all the best. He's a true team player on and off the field."
A first-round pick by Cincinnati in 1998, Spikes had at least 100 tackles in each of his five seasons with the Bengals. But it wasn't until he went to Buffalo in 2003 that he got widespread recognition. Spikes had 144 tackles in '03 and 111 tackles with five interceptions in '04, making the Pro Bowl both years.
Injuries slowed Spikes in 2005 and 2006.
The Eagles have focused on improving their defense in the offseason. Philadelphia signed All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel when the NFL's free-agency period opened last Friday, luring him away from New England with a six-year deal worth $57 million. A day later, they signed defensive end Chris Clemons.
The team made a run at All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss earlier this week, offering more money than he got to return to the Patriots. If the Eagles end up satisfying Donovan McNabb's request for an offensive playmaker, it'll probably have to come through a trade. The addition of Samuel makes two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard expendable, so he can be used as trade bait for a top receiver.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press