This deal is really just a formality. Watkins was an exclusive-rights free agent which meant the Eagles had the option to give him a minimum deal and he either had to 1) accept it or 2) not play in the NFL anymore.
The 25-year-old Watkins was originally drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Philadelphia cut him prior to the 2015 season but the team re-signed him away from the Bills’ practice squad to their active roster late in the season.
Watkins moved from cornerback to safety last offseason and the position change seemed to benefit him. He had a good offseason and, as a result, earned a spot as the team’s third safety behind starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod.
Watkins played 38% of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps last season. He recorded 22 tackles and three passes defensed. Watkins also played 52.3 of the Eagles’ special teams snaps.
There’s no guarantee Watkins will be on the Eagles’ 53-man roster when the 2017 season rolls around. He’ll need another strong offseason to earn his spot.
UPDATE: Eagles officially confirm the news.