The Eagles have a problem at Safety. Is Tyrann Mathieu the answer?
The retirement of Malcolm Jenkins on Wednesday closed the book on one of the most inspiring NFL careers in recent memory. Jenkins’ role in Philadelphia as the leader of the defense for six years, and in the community was unlike any we had seen before. The Eagles have been unable to fill the void he left and are once again looking to try and do so this offseason.
Tyrann Mathieu is a three-time All-Pro and Pro-Bowl safety. As a leader of the Chiefs, Mathieu was the best player on a bad overall unit. Still, he’s managed to be one of the most talented and complete safeties in the NFL to date. And the comps to Malcolm Jenkins only strengthen the love Philadelphia would have for him if ended up coming to Philly.
Tyrann Mathieu has grown a lot as a person
While Mathieu had issues in college, he was a model teammate on and off the field for the Chiefs. Just this past season, Mathieu was nominated by the Chiefs for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his efforts in the KC community. His efforts with the Tyrann Mathieu Foundation to provide food and supplies to families in need in the local community and also his hometown of New Orleans.
The Eagles and their players are well known for giving back to the community. Malcolm Jenkins was the WPMOY nominee back in 2019 for his role around the city and how he co-founded the Players Coalition to organize a group of NFL players’ fight for racial and social equality
Jenkins and Mathieu may have had different experiences in life, but their commitment to helping the community is one thing they both share. And it’s a big reason why the Eagles should not be opposed to bringing him in.
On the Field
When Malcolm Jenkins patrolled the defense in Philadelphia, the Eagles defense had an identity of being hard-nosed and downhill. Since Jenkins left in FA after 2019, the Eagles identity on defense has been missing in a major way.
The Honey Badger could bring in the swagger this city has desperately needed on defense. A member on the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010’s, Mathieu has statistically been a better player on the field than Jenkins has.
Mathieu has battled injuries lately and is turning 30-years-old this season, but last year showed he can still play at a high level. He made the Pro Bowl after a three pick, six passes defensed season. He has the speed and ability to play in any defense and could be the vocal leader on a defense that has certainly needed one since Jenkins has departed.
The Business Side
The fact that Mathieu hasn’t been signed yet is a surprise to many around the NFL. Some mention the fact of the Chiefs poor defensive record last year and that being a microcosm of the play of Mathieu. Others will point to a very robust safety market in free agency that has dried up due to large contracts that were given to Marcus Williams and Justin Reid.
In the end, Tyrann Mathieu has had to deal with injuries, and as the days go by, the money he could be commanding is getting smaller and smaller.
With a talented safety class coming up in the NFL Draft, a team that takes a flier on Mathieu is taking a big risk but with potential for high reward. While Howie Roseman and the Eagles talk about building the team right, it starts with getting leaders on both sides of the ball. And there haven’t been many better leaders than Tyrann Mathieu in the NFL.
If Malcolm Jenkins has taught this city anything, is that it adores it’s top safeties. Mathieu is an obvious choice to continue that legacy.
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire