The Philadelphia Eagles were decisive in re-signing their own top players on the offensive side of the ball before free agency opened. Last week, Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Kelce were all signed and welcomed back to Philadelphia.
But, the Eagles still wasted no time on Tuesday adding on to their understaffed secondary during the first day of the NFL free agency.
They began the day by reaching a three-year deal with safety Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins, a four-year starter for the New Orleans Saints, was not alone. The team also signed safety Chris Maragos and decided to re-sign punter Donnie Jones.
Jenkins put away his five-year career with the New Orleans Saints with a two-interception, 2.5-sack campaign.
Jenkins, only 26-years-old, was a former first-round pick and now that he will be wearing that midnight green, hopefully he has even better days to come. The Eagles definitely hope so.
Maragos has played mostly on special teams during his four-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. He signed a three-year deal with Philadelphia, where it is said that he will be playing the same role.
Meanwhile, they announced the release of safety Patrick Chung, which came as no surprise.
The Eagles releasing Chung, who accumulated 59 tackles and a fumble recovery in 12 games last season, gave Jenkins a spot on the roster. He was signed as a free agent last offseason after a four-year tenure in New England that was flawed by injuries.
So, Chip Kelly has already improved his bothersome safety situation.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Jenkins deal is three years for $16.25 million with $8 million guaranteed.
This is not bad considering the Eagles ended up saving $3.25 million for next season by releasing Chung. So, signing Jenkins was not a bad hit financially for the team.
During the 2012 season when cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams worked with Chung as starters, the secondary needed some extreme help. The numbers improved but not to the necessary level.
In 2013, there was still a lot of help needed as Chung, Nate Allen, and rookie Earl Wolff did not provide much help together.
By completing the deal with Jenkins, the Eagles made the best decision they could have made. They gained a very well rounded, strong player and they found a very cost-effective option. Jenkins was drafted as a cornerback out of Ohio State in 2009 but has played as a safety for the last four seasons. He has had 358 career tackles, six interceptions and 4.5 sacks.
Philadelphia definitely has a strategy, one that seems to be going well for them so far. They have the money but they are spending carefully.
General manager Howie Roseman was mainly focused on improving the Eagles’ defensive backfield and it does not seem like he is completely finished filling in the missing pieces.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are releasing their star cornerback Darrelle Revis, and according to Schefter, the Eagles could be among his most interested suitors.
This same strategy will be obvious during the draft, where the Eagles are expected to have their eye on a defensive back or a pass rusher with their No. 22 overall pick. The players on their radar are safeties Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor, cornerback Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert, and outside linebacker Dee Ford.
I wonder what the Eagles have up their sleeve next. I can’t wait to find out.