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Jalen Mills talks re-signing with the Eagles and transitioning to his new position

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The Green Goblin also talks about the revamped secondary.

Wild Card Round - Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Eagles re-signed Jalen Mills to a one-year deal, but his return will be at safety rather than cornerback. Mills spoke to the media on Tuesday about his decision to return to Philly and why he feels comfortable in moving to a new position, as well as what the secondary might look like this fall.

Here’s what Mills had to say:

On free agency

Mills confirmed that there were a few teams interested in him during free agency, but one of the reasons he wanted to return was that there is unfinished business in Philadelphia.

“I feel like this team has the chemistry and has the DNA to win another Super Bowl.”

He also noted that of the teams that were interested in him, the Eagles were the only team that wanted him to play safety. Later on, he also mentioned that the scheme was a big draw for him to come back to Philly — he knows what Schwartz is going to do schematically, and with OTAs in question, new teammates and new coaches, the familiarity was a positive.

Mills explained that he was comfortable with the one-year deal to return because of the market, and also because he always bets on himself, and he’s doing that again as he takes on a new position — a new position in the NFL, he clarified, because he did play safety some in college.

On playing safety

Mills was asked about whether he was excited about how Jim Schwartz had used Malcolm Jenkins in the role that he’s looking to fill, and how important being what Howie Roseman called being a position-less player. He explained that he has experience moving all around the field, and that was in their game plan for him in 2019 against the Patriots, which was one of his best games after his return.

“I think the biggest thing, as far as switching — at corner you’re just kinda on the outside, don’t let anything get outside of you, force everything back in. But, at safety, I might have the C-gap on one play, and the guard may pull or the tight end may swap over and I’m in the A-gap, or I’m in the B-gap.”

He’s always talked about preferring cornerback over safety even as far back as college, but Mills explained that being a position-less player means sometimes doing things that are best for the team to win — and he’s all about the win.

Later on, he acknowledged that he had a long conversation via text with Jenkins — someone he calls his big brother — and he understands that he’s got big shoes to fill and it’s going to be a task to play at the standard that Jenkins set at the position. BUT, Mills says he’ll be ready for it.

On the corner position for the Eagles

Mills talked about how since his rookie year, there has always been a battle at the corner position. So as far as who might fill those roles in 2020, he expects there to be another battle throughout training camp, and guys are going to have to prove themselves.

“Of course [Darius] Slay is gonna be the one corner, but whoever else is gonna get that No. 2 cornerback spot is gonna have to prove it. Competition breeds excellence. I think as far as the new revamped secondary, we got a lot of guys, playing a lot of different positions. And, I mean, we’re fast. Our secondary is going to be really, really fast.”

With regards to some of the new players on the team, he said it’s good to have guys coming in with experience, especially once they get down the stretch and closer to the postseason.

On his number change

Mills explained his number change as, “A new beginning”. He said that he’s always been motivated by guys like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, and they both changed numbers during their careers.

“It’s a new position, a new feel, and it’s gonna be new energy.”