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Eagles lose third defensive starter on the first day of NFL free agency

The bleeding continues.

Tennessee Titans v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Marcus Epps is leaving the Philadelphia Eagles to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders on a three-year contract worth $12 million with $8 million guaranteed, according to a report from NFL Network.

Epps is the third Eagles defensive starter to leave Philly on the first day of the NFL free agency ‘legal tampering’ period. The Birds lost T.J. Edwards to the Chicago Bears and Javon Hargrave to the San Francisco 49ers earlier in the day. And more departures could be on the way with C.J. Gardner-Johnson and James Bradberry still out on the open market.

Epps, who turned 27 in January, began his NFL career as a sixth-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings. He was claimed off waivers by the Eagles during the 2019 season. It was functionally a trade between the Eagles and Vikings since Minny had waived Epps to pick up former starter Andrew Sendejo, who was cut by Philly.

Slowly but surely, Epps earned snaps as a role player. He was a rotational third safety in 2021 before then emerging as a full-time starter in 2022. Epps was not an obvious liability by the eye test last season but some metrics indicate he was not awesome. He didn’t log any interceptions, he allowed a 139.1 passer rating when targeted, and he ranked 74th out of 93 safeties graded by Pro Football Focus.

It would have been ideal if the Eagles could’ve kept him at a reasonable rate. But Epps is currently poised to be somewhere around the 23rd highest paid player at his position in terms of annual value.

Epps’ departure means the Eagles will need at least one new starting safety in 2023. If CJGJ isn’t back, they’ll need two. Reed Blankenship could conceivably take over one of those jobs. But the Eagles don’t have an obvious in-house option for the other starting spot.

Epps will count towards the Eagles’ compensatory pick formula as it relates to the 2024 NFL Draft.

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