UPDATE: Honey Badger is signing with the Saints. That’s especially disappointing for the Eagles since it not only leaves them barren at safety ... it also makes New Orleans better. And the Eagles own the Saints’ first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Double whammy.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.
The 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone but the Philadelphia Eagles still have big holes in their secondary. Only making five selections in total, the Birds were unable to add help at cornerback and safety. The team did make some interesting undrafted rookie free agent signings ... but those defensive backs are far from sure bets to make the roster, let alone earn meaningful playing time.
And so the Eagles’ best bet to fill some needs could come by revisiting the veteran free agent market. One player stands out in particular: the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu.
He’s only been on basically every Eagles fan’s wish-list since it was first reported that he was drawing interest from Philly. Mathieu had a “virtual visit” with the Birds in early April. All has been quiet on that front since then.
But it appears Mathieu’s market is once again heating up. The New Orleans Saints are expected to make an “aggressive push” to bring the Honey Badger back to his hometown. This much according to a report from NFL insider Adam Schefter.
It’s quite possible that Schefty’s source is Mathieu’s agent. He stands to benefit from creating a market for his client. This report could be a prompt for the Eagles (or other teams) to up their offers to the three-time Pro Bowler ... or else risk losing the chance to sign him.
Mathieu would undoubtedly be a nice addition to an Eagles safety room that currently only includes Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, K’Von Wallace, Andre Chachere, and Jared Mayden. Not exactly the most inspiring group. Howie Roseman might disagree with that assessment, however. He had the following to say on Saturday evening:
“I think where we are at the safety position – we have a lot of confidence in Anthony [Harris]. That’s why we brought him back. We have a lot of confidence in Marcus [Epps]. Marcus played really good football for us last year. We have a lot of confidence in K’Von [Wallace]. We brought Andre [Chachere] here last year, we have Jared [Mayden], and we’ll continue to look at that position.
You know, nothing imminent, but again, we probably have a higher vision of that room than maybe is perceived.”
If the Eagles don’t land the Honey Badger, it’s not like they have plenty of great alternatives out there for them. Other remaining free agent safeties include the likes of Tashaun Gipson (32 years old), Jason McCourty (34), and Jaquiski Tartt (30).
Chuck Clark — a Philly native — might be a name to watch on the trade market considering there are rumors about the Ravens moving him. Recall that Baltimore made Marcus Williams the NFL’s highest-paid safety earlier this offseason before also drafting Kyle Hamilton at No. 14 overall.
Or maybe the Eagles are really just willing ride it out with the guys they’ve got? It’s not like Jonathan Gannon necessarily asks his safeties to do a ton on the back end as they line up a billion yards off the ball. But he always could ask them to do more if they were more talented.
Mathieu’s status will continue to be worth monitoring as rumors swirl about the Saints circling him.