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Report: Jalen Mills leaves Eagles to sign with Patriots

The Green Goblin won’t be returning to Philly.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles won’t be re-signing Jalen Mills.

The 2016 seventh-round pick is instead joining the New England Patriots on a four-year, $24 million contract worth $9 million guaranteed, according to NFL insider Adam Schefter.

This news comes as a surprise! There was thought the Eagles might be able to re-sign Mills to a relatively affordable contract. His market was clearly more active than expected.

Here’s what we wrote about Mills back in February:

OUTLOOK: Mills only signed a one-year contract with Philly last offseason so he’s going to be a free agent in March. If Jim Schwartz was still the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, there’s no doubt Mills would be back. It remains to be seen how Jonathan Gannon values him, though, with the Eagles expected to utilize more Cover 2 looks. The guess here is that Mills won’t have some crazy robust market and the Eagles will try to bring him back on another short-term contract (one or two years). Given their cap limitations, keeping him might be one of their most sensible options at the position. But not so sure they’re ready to make a long-term commitment to Mills if that’s what it takes.

A majority of fans here at Bleeding Green Nation projected Mills to stay in Philly:

Mills’ departure leaves the Eagles with just Rodney McLeod (coming off an ACL injury), Marcus Epps, K’Von Wallace, Grayland Arnold, and Elijah Riley under contract at safety. That’s not an overly inspiring group, hence the Eagles’ reported interest in adding John Johnson to their secondary.

While Mills was often a divisive player, the feeling here is that it’ll be sad to see the Green Goblin go. He clearly exceeded expectations as a late Day 3 pick. 15 of Mills’ 49 career starts came during the Eagles’ Super Bowl season in 2017. Mills did a respectable job of converting back to safety when Philly asked him to replace Malcolm Jenkins’ old role last season. Bummer to see him go to an unrootable team like the Patriots but all the best to Mills in terms of individual success.

Mills’ contract notably DOES qualify towards the Eagles’ compensatory pick formula. But any signings the Birds might make (such as Johnson) would cancel it out. And it’s not like the Eagles’ other free agents are expected to sign lucrative deals. Then again, neither was Mills.