The Philadelphia Eagles were in need of safety help after losing both C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps. And so they signed Justin Evans to be a sure-fire solution for them.
Not really. The team actually made it well known that he was not to be considered the only move they were going to make at the position. (Sure enough, they later signed Terrell Edmunds.)
Evans is a bit of a mystery as a player who hadn’t logged snaps since 2018 prior to last season. Let’s get to know him a bit better by hearing from a New Orleans Saints perspective. Here’s what Hayden Klinkhamer from Canal Street Chronicles had to say about him through answers to my questions.
1 - How would you recap Evans’ time with the Saints?
Was a low risk/high reward signing for the Saints after not playing for almost 4 years. Was a big part of special teams but also did start 4 games for the Saints at safety. Good tackler but as the year went on mainly was used on special teams.
2 - How do Saints fans feel about the team not retaining him?
He was a very good special teamer so it certainly is a blow to that side of the ball but most are okay with him heading out. He wasn’t even active for the last two games and barely played any defensive snaps so most will probably not notice he is gone.
3 - What are his strengths?
Not that being a good special teamer is a weakness every team needs that guy on special teams that can tackle and make plays. I imagine for the Eagles he will be a rotation safety and a starter on special teams who if fans pay attention will notice the things he does. Very solid tackler and by all accounts a good locker room guy.
4 - What are his weaknesses?
Weakness has to be coverage. He was very rarely used in coverage for the Saints but it was successful when he was targeted as he tends to not react to the ball in the air very well. Doesn’t make up for the lack of great coverage with good ball skills as he had no INTs last year and gave up a completion percentage of 60% and a touchdown in the few games he did start at safety. Best used as a special teamer and rotation safety only.
5 - Anything to know about him off the field?
Justin’s biggest off the field problem was staying healthy before he came to NOLA Outside of that, never any issues off the field or in the locker room and most teammates only have said good things about him.
BLG’s take: The Evans signing is reminiscent of the Andrew Adams addition from the 2021 offseason. In both cases, the Eagles signed a former NFC South safety with starting experience to a contract with relatively little guaranteed money. Adams was on the roster bubble in training camp before ultimately failing to make the team. It would not be shocking if Evans follows a similar path, though there is potential for him to stick around as a special teams contributor and backup/rotational player. The Eagles seem to think there’s a chance that the No. 50 overall pick from the 2017 NFL Draft, who turns 28 in August, might be able to show something. If the Birds are somehow able to trade Evans, doing so would clear $1.31 million in cap space with only $250,000 in dead money compared to cutting him to clear $959,412 while taking on $600,000 in dead money. But the Eagles might prefer him to stick around depending on what their safety situation looks like this summer.