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11 safety options for the Philadelphia Eagles following Rodney McLeod’s injury

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Including, yes, Earl Thomas.

Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles might be looking to add another safety to their 53-man roster after reportedly losing Rodney McLeod for the season. Let’s take a look at their options.

TRADE

EARL THOMAS - Can you even imagine? It’d be pretty crazy to see the Eagles get the guy that people criticized Howie Roseman for passing up on in favor of drafting Brandon Graham instead. (I’d say that move worked out OK with Graham strip-sacking Tom Brady to help the Eagles clinch a Super Bowl win, by the way.) Putting that angle aside, Thomas would be a fantastic addition for Philadelphia. Adding his range and play-making ability to this Eagles defense is very enticing. The problem is that he wouldn’t come cheap. The Seahawks reportedly turned down a second-round pick offer from the Cowboys. The Chiefs (Andy Reid!) are reportedly interested in Thomas as well, which indicates there’s a market for him. I don’t think the Eagles would want to give up their 2019 first-round pick considering they’re tight on cap space and Thomas is a 29-year-old player on the last year of his deal seeking a mega extension. Maybe something like the Eagles giving up both of their 2019 second-round picks (their own and one from the Ravens) could get it done instead? Something to consider is that even if the Eagles don’t re-sign Thomas, they could recoup a 2020 third-round compensatory pick if he signs a big deal with another team in free agency after this year. Acquiring Thomas would be an aggressive move but it could make sense if the Eagles feel like they need to capitalize on this window they have. Find a way to make it happen, Howie.

Poll

Should the Eagles trade for Earl Thomas?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Yes
    (4166 votes)
  • 43%
    No
    (3241 votes)
7407 votes total Vote Now

FREE AGENTS

ERIC REID - Not an option. Signed with the Panthers earlier today. Of course.

TYVON BRANCH - Branch, 31, was having a strong season with the Cardinals last year before suffering an ACL tear in November. I don’t know where he’s at health wise but if I’m the Eagles I’d check up on that. It’s worth noting that Branch overlapped with Doug Pederson in Kansas City during the 2015 NFL season.

EDDIE PLEASANT - The former undrafted free agent has been more of a defensive role-player and special teams contributor through his career. He only saw 26.9% of Houston’s snaps in 2017 and he has one career start to his name in 78 games played. Probably not the answer.

T.J. WARD - Remember when people wanted the Eagles to sign T.J. Ward or Jairus Byrd and they ended up with Malcolm Jenkins instead? Didn’t work out so bad. Anyway, the 31-year-old Ward has had a productive career. But he also really struggled with the Buccaneers last season.

MIKE MITCHELL - Struggled to play well and dealt with a number of injuries during an era that was dubbed “forgettable” by Steelers fans. Pass.

NATE ALLEN - Stranger things have happened, I guess, but I can’t see it.

DARIAN THOMPSON - The Giants waived their 2016 third-round pick during final cuts earlier this month. Thompson was a play-maker in college but he struggled with the Giants. He’s also had some injury issues. At only 25 years old, it might be worth taking a shot on his upside.

ANDREWS ADAMS - The Eagles worked out Adams leading up to Philadelphia’s Week 1 game. There was some buzz the Eagles were going to sign him to their practice squad but that never happened. Some Giants fans were surprised when Adams was released by New York. It seems like he may have been a victim of a front office change. The 25-year-old had started 17 games so he has some NFL experience. Could be worth a look. UPDATE: Welp, Andrews was actually signed by the Bucs.

POSITION CHANGE

JALEN MILLS - I’ve seen a number of people suggest the Eagles should just move Mills to safety and then put Sidney Jones on the outside. I don’t think that’s crazy as a long-term scenario, but I don’t see it happening this season. Mills has safety experience from playing the position in college, yeah, but he hasn’t been cross-trained at the NFL level. I feel like we would’ve seen the Eagles experiment with some of those looks in the offseason if that position change was on the table. And I never saw them do that. So I just don’t expect it to happen.

RASUL DOUGLAS - The Eagles’ coaching staff has straight up said they don’t view Douglas as a safety. As is the case with Mills, there’s been no indication they’ve been cross-training him. I just don’t see it.

PRACTICE SQUAD

TRE SULLIVAN - Sullivan looked good in spring practices but he struggled during the preseason. He made the original 53-man roster and even played on special teams in Week 1 (as you’ll remember due to his gaffe) before being waived and brought back on the practice squad. Sullivan obviously has familiarity with the Eagles’ scheme, which doesn’t hurt, but I don’t think they think he’s the answer. I think they’re keeping him around on the practice squad more as a developmental guy and an emergency option.

WAITING

CHRIS MARAGOS - The Eagles could stand pat and move forward with what they have. Maybe they feel comfortable with Corey Graham and Deiondre’ Hall taking on bigger roles in the defense. Then they can activate Maragos off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list after Week 6 for additional safety depth and special teams contributions. The problem is that it’s not ideal when Maragos ever has to play meaningful defensive snaps. And he’s at least three more games away from being eligible to return to the 53-man roster.

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VERDICT

I wouldn’t mind seeing the Eagles aggressively pursue acquiring Thomas. He’d be a big difference maker for their defense. The added bonus of him going to the Eagles after all the speculation he’d end up on the Cowboys would be pretty great as well.

If the Eagles go the free agent route, I’m most interested in Branch (health pending).

I don’t expect the Eagles to have any of their corners to make position changes. And I don’t think calling up Sullivan or merely waiting for Maragos to get back is the answer.

What say you?