The Philadelphia Eagles are working out free agent safety Johnathan Cyprien on Tuesday, according to a report from NFL insider Adam Schefter. Schefter adds the “Eagles have been looking to add safety help, and Malcolm Jenkins has been a no show this off-season - with no end in sight.”
Schefter previously reported that he expects Jenkins to miss the Eagles’ mandatory minicamp next week. If that’s the case, Jenkins can be fined around $80,000. This would show Jenkins is serious about demanding an adjustment to his contract.
With Jenkins missing OTAs and Rodney McLeod still recovering from ACL/MCL surgery, the Eagles are currently trotting out Andrew Sendejo and Tre Sullivan as their first team safeties. That’s not ideal.
The Eagles signing Cyprien could be especially bad news for Sendejo. If the former Vikings safety is on the Eagles’ 53-man roster past Week 10, Philadelphia will lose a 2020 fourth-round compensatory pick they’re set to receive for losing Jordan Hicks in free agency. In addition to preserving that draft pick, the Eagles could also clear $800,000 in cap space by cutting Sendejo before Week 1. Signing Cyprien won’t count against the Eagles’ comp pick formula because he was released earlier this offseason (and it’s after the May 8 deadline anyway).
Cyprien, who turns 29 in July, originally entered the league as the No. 33 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He started and played in 60 games for the Jaguars before leaving Jacksonville to sign with the Titans in 2017. Cyprien played 10 games with Tennessee before tearing his ACL in August prior to the 2018 season.
The Eagles are likely working Cyprien out in part to check up on his recovery. When healthy, Cyprien has been a productive player. He has 506 career tackles, 16 passes defensed, three sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.
For what it’s worth, Cyprien ranked 86th out of 94 safeties graded by Pro Football Focus in 2017. He was better in 2016 as he finished 32nd out of 103. The 6-0, 223 pound Cyprien has been stronger as a run defender than he has been in coverage.
The Eagles’ interest in Cyprien could be somewhat of a leverage play when it comes to Jenkins holding out. Something along the lines of: “We’ll just roll with this guy while you’re missing time.” Of course, Cyprien isn’t nearly the player that Jenkins is.
Ideally, Cyprien fits as a third safety for the Eagles. He could fill the Corey Graham role and allow the Eagles to cut Sendejo in order to keep that 2020 comp pick. Cyprien would also provide insurance if Jenkins and/or McLeod get hurt.
The Eagles aren’t the only team interested in Cyprien. The Colts also worked him out on Monday. Cyprien left Indianapolis without a contract; we’ll soon see if that’s the case with his Philly visit as well.
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