What the return of Jalen Mills means for the Eagles


According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, a familiar face is returning to the Eagles.

Former seventh-round pick Jalen Mills will be signing a one-year deal and also taking his services to Safety.

Mills spent most of last season nursing a broken foot, but bounced back heroically. He seemed more patient and more confident. Targeted 9 times by Tom Brady, Mills allowed just 3 completions for 11 yards, helping to hold Brady to a passer rating of 67.3, his second-lowest of the year. He still ended the season with 41 tackles and a pick.

There’s a lot to take away from this, if true of course.

For Mills

Love him or hate him, this move has been a LONG time coming. Mills briefly played the position at LSU but the Eagles were forced to throw him into the deep end at corner due to a severe lack of depth. Mills would hold down a starting role for the next four seasons but there were clear deficiencies in his game that in this scheme, were going to be exposed time and time again.

With a clear upgrade needed on the outside, this at least allows the Eagles some flexibility. Mills moves into a position where depth is going to be questionable for the time being, has former experience, and can compete for a larger role. He’s a high-character guy who Schwartz is besotted with.

For the Safety position

It’s worth noting that Jalen Mills is a strong tackler…and I say that in correlation to this subheading because the deadline to pick up Malcolm Jenkins’ option is tomorrow. There is a chance that Mills could fill the in-the-box role that Jenkins currently occupies.

It’s also worth noting that Rodney McLeod will be a free agent tomorrow. If either of these players move, there’s a very strong chance the Eagles are moving Mills up to account for the loss.

The team have also been linked with Denver DB Will Parks, who’s versatile enough to play any of the aforementioned roles and could be part of a two-piece puzzle to solidify the position.

Let’s not forget the team’s new DB Coach, Marquand Manuel, has a glowing track record of encouraging versatile DB play. Richardo Allen and Damontae Kazee have both thrived in changing positions under his watch.

For the cornerbacks

Help is on the way. The deal Mills has signed is worth $5M which is loose pennies to Howie and company. It means that they’re guaranteed to need at least one starter (probably two). Maddox could be another candidate to slide up in the secondary, and the Eagles do still have Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, and Avonte Maddox at their disposal, but help is coming.

Starting help is coming.

For Josina

Dare I speculate on the source correlation?

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports