NFL Free Agency 2019: A Comprehensive Look at Eagles' Safeties

Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Andrew Kulp continue the 2019 edition of Stay or Go, trying to figure out the future of the Eagles. 

Today, they look at the safeties. 

Philadelphia Eagles

Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Eagles' Lane Johnson Will Miss Rest of Season Due to Ankle Surgery

Eagles Need ‘Fans' in the Stands to Help Autism Challenge

Malcolm Jenkins

Roob: After five seasons, three Pro Bowls, zero missed games, a Super Bowl and half a decade of leadership, it's safe to say Malcolm Jenkins is an all-time great Eagle. Definitely headed for the Eagles Hall of Fame. This may have been his best year as he held it down as the only constant in a chaotic secondary. Hope he finishes his career here.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: It's hard to imagine where the Eagles would be without Jenkins. He plays every snap, he plays multiple positions, he was the veteran force on a secondary that was decimated by injuries. He's one of the most important players on the team. It's hard to overstate how important he is. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: The heart and soul of the Eagles' defense, Jenkins played every snap this season. He's indispensable, both on the field and as a locker room leader. And in case anybody feels different about Jenkins at 31, trade or release only creates about $2 million in savings.

Verdict: Stays

Rodney McLeod

Roob: This is one of the tougher calls of the offseason. McLeod is really solid and forms a great safety tandem with Malcolm Jenkins. And he's only 28. But he's coming off a season-ending injury, he's got that $7.5 million salary and $9.9 million cap hit and the Eagles need cap space. Will they cut ties with him? Bring him back at a lower salary? It's going to be tempting to move Avonte Maddox to safety, cut ties with McLeod and clear much-needed cap room. Tough call. 

Verdict: Goes

Dave: This is a tough one because McLeod's cap hit is over $9 million in 2019 and that's a lot for a player coming off an ACL tear. But I think he and the Eagles can figure something out to keep him around. Losing him last season was a big loss. He's still just 28 and has some good football ahead of him. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: McLeod is somebody fans might've taken for granted prior to this season, but you saw what a mess the secondary became after he went down in the third game. He provides a lot of stability on the back end. The Eagles only save $5 million or roughly half of McLeod's cap hit in the event of his trade or release, so knowing what we do now, I would be real hesitant to move on. 

Verdict: Stays

Corey Graham

Roob: Graham played way more than he could have imagined when he re-upped with the Eagles a week into training camp. There was 4th-and-15 against the Titans, but as the year went on he played better. But Graham turns 34 before training camp starts and has 12 years in the books. I think he calls it a career.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: He was pretty close to retiring after the 2017 season but decided to come back and eventually played well in 2018 after that 4th-and-15 in Tennessee. But he made it pretty clear throughout the season that he wasn't going to play much longer. I think he retires. 

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: Was solid as the Eagles' third safety in 2017, looked like a 33-year-old defensive back in 2018. Graham simply doesn't possess the range he used to, and the diminished athleticism got him into trouble a few times last season. He's a free agent, and I imagine headed for retirement unless another team is in really dire straits. Avonte Maddox is the new third safety.

Verdict: Goes

Deiondre' Hall

Roob: Hall barely played on defense - six snaps all year - but was a core special teamer for Dave Fipp and is under contract at minimum-wage $720,000 in 2019, so unless the Eagles draft a safety to play that fourth safety/special teams role - which is certainly possible - I'd expect Hall to be back next year simply because of his special teams ability.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: It was telling that even when the Eagles needed help at safety, they refused to play Hall. But he's a big special teams guy and you need to have a few of them. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Played only six snaps on defense, which is kind of incredible given all the injuries in the secondary. But Hall became a major contributor on special teams as the year went on, which is apparently what the Eagles were hoping when they traded a seventh-round pick to the Bears in September. He's under contract and inexpensive for one more year.

Verdict: Stays

Tre Sullivan

Roob: Sullivan went from the practice squad to barely playing to a key rotational d-back during the course of the season, and by the postseason was playing at a high level and getting than 60 percent of the defensive snaps while continuing to take a huge load on special teams. He really showed tremendous improvement as the year went on. These are the kind of guys you need on the roster - talented and cheap ($570,000 salary next year).

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Kind of a crazy season for Sullivan. He made the initial 53, but then lost his job when Hall came off suspension. But by the end of the season, he was back on the 53 and contributing on defense. The Eagles probably need some more help at this position, but either way, I think Sullivan has the inside track on a roster spot. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Sullivan was on the field quite a bit during the Eagles' stretch run - surprising considering some of the bonehead plays he made earlier. Yet, by the end, he seemed to be doing a decent enough job. If nothing else, Sullivan will enter his second NFL season as a cheap backup with regular season and playoff game experience.

Verdict: Stays

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Copyright CSNPhily
Contact Us