Another member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2017 roster might be moving on. Free agent defensive back Jaylen Watkins is visiting with the San Francisco 49ers and other teams this week, according to NFL insider Mike Garafolo.
Watkins was set to be a restricted free agent this offseason but the Eagles declined to tender him, making Watkins unrestricted and free to sign with any team.
The 26-year-old Watkins played 16.3% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps in 2017. He began the season as the team’s fourth safety and top backup at cornerback. Watkins made one start at corner in Week 2 after Ronald Darby got hurt in Week 1. But then Watkins himself got hurt and missed several weeks. Upon returning, he mostly played special teams (36.1% of the ST snaps).
It seems like Watkins, a fourth-round pick by the Eagles in 2014, is finally bound to move on from Philadelphia. If the Birds wanted to keep him around, they could have tendered him. The Eagles might have had some interest in re-signing him for a minimum deal, but it appears Watkins will get a better offer than that if he’s drawing attention from other teams.
My understanding is that the Eagles will not get a compensatory pick for Watkins if he signs elsewhere since he wasn’t originally set to be a true unrestricted free agent.
Speaking of the 2014 NFL Draft class, let’s look back at that.
1 - Marcus Smith
2 - Jordan Matthews
3 - Josh Huff
4 - Jaylen Waktins
5 - Taylor Hart
5 - Ed Reynolds
6 - N/A
7 - Beau Allen
Somehow, Taylor Hart managed to outlast everyone. He’s the only player from this class currently under contract on the Eagles’ roster. And he’s an offensive tackle now.