While the city of Philadelphia hones in on wide receivers and cornerbacks, one position remains very much in question. The Eagles currently have a dilemma at Safety and it’s one that probably needs a more immediate answer than most other obstacles facing the team this offseason.
Malcolm Jenkins is currently in limbo. The Eagles could pick up his option for 2020, in-turn costing them $10.8M in cap space. But Jenkins has already firmly indicated that he would not be playing under his current agreement unless it’s changed.
This in itself creates an obvious issue. Jenkins isn’t just a role-plyer on the defense. He’s started all 96 games since joining the Eagles as a free agent and has barely missed a snap in that time. Unfortunately for the Eagles, that’s not where the problems end.
The team’s other current starting safety is Rodney McLeod and he’s set to be a free agent come March 18th. McLeod has been fairly consistent over the years but he’s reaching the peak age of 30 soon. Even so, would the Eagles really let him walk and test the idea of a rookie or an outside veteran taking his position?
Jenkins and McLeod are the only two safeties in the league to have recorded 13+ INTs and 10+ FFs since 2013. It’s an impressive stat that shouldn’t be overlooked, but with time comes age, and age is never on anyone’s side. One thing Howie Roseman made very clear is that he’s looking to invest in the next wave of players he brings into the organization.
Roseman says he isn’t interested in the “one-year deals” anymore. He has set a three-year window for himself where he hopes to build this team on core players that will be here the long haul. Does that leave McLeod or even Jenkins out of the picture?
It’s hard to imagine the Eagles moving on from Jenkins as his role with the team runs deeper than stats. Jenkins one the very few pillars of not only the defense but the entire team as a whole. Not only that but Jenkins is literally one of a kind, the 32-year old safety hasn’t missed a game in the six seasons that he’s been with the team. It’s a big decision for the Howie Roseman as the Eagles once fumbled a similar decision while in the same position years ago with Brian Dawkins. Dawkins finished the last two years of his career as a Bronco.
As for McLeod, he’s been pretty consistent but hasn’t fallen short for miscues over the years. He played a huge role in the Eagles Super Bowl run while also delivering for the team last season but if the Eagles see him as replaceable then maybe they know who to replace him with. Could this open up a new role for young players like Jalen Mills, who is always a free agent, Avonte Maddox, or Rasul Douglas?
Keep an eye on which free agent safeties are rumored to be on the radar for the birds and who they interview at the combine. This is a position that I can’t see Howie ignoring this offseason, even with other needs in mind.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports