NFL free agency 2022: After wave of safety signings, what's left for Eagles?

NFL free agency 2022: After wave of safety signings, what’s left for Eagles?

As of Wednesday morning, the Eagles have made one splash move in free agency and it was at their biggest position of need.

But there are more needs to fill.

The most pressing is at the safety position, where Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris are both free agents. That leaves Marcus Epps and K’Von Wallace as the Eagles’ top players at that position.

The good news coming into free agency was that this crop of safeties hitting the market was an impressive one. But since noon on Monday, we’ve already seen many of them agree to deals elsewhere:

• Marcus Williams to Ravens (5 years, $70M)

• Quandre Diggs stays with Seahawks (3 years, $40M)

• Justin Reid to Chiefs (3 years, $31.5M)

• Marcus Maye to Saints (3 years, $28.5M)

• Devin McCourty stays with Patriots (1 year, $9M)

• Tracy Walker stays with Lions (3 years, $25M)

• Jordan Whitehead to Jets (2 years, $14.5M)

• Xavier Woods to Panthers (3 years, $15.75M)

• Malik Hooker stays with Cowboys (2 years, $8M)

The Eagles were reportedly in the running for Williams, the top earner of this group, but fell short and the Ravens signed him.

Coming into free agency, Reid would have been my pick. He’s still just 25 and has played at a really high level before. And we also knew there was a good chance he would be leaving Houston. But that didn’t happen.

And then there’s the Whitehead deal. He hasn’t even turned 25 yet and has already played four full seasons in the NFL with the Bucs. Seems like his deal wasn’t too expensive either.

But all those guys are gone … so what’s left for the Eagles? Here’s a look at some remaining options:

Tyrann Matthew (Age: 30) He’s going to be expensive but we know he’s going to be leaving Kansas City after they signed Reid. He might not be a long-term fix like some of these younger players but he’s still an absolute playmaker and would transform the Eagles’ defense. Still, this seems unlikely.

Terrell Edmunds (Age: 25) Because of his age, Edmunds might be the best bet for a long-term contract. He’s a former first-round pick who hasn’t exactly lived up to that in Pittsburgh but he has been durable and another team is going to give him a chance. The problem here is that he might be more of a strong safety, in-the-box type of player and that’s not necessarily what we think the Eagles will be looking for.

Jayron Kearse (Age: 28) Kearse played in Dallas last season on a cheap one-year deal and played really well, playing in 16 games with 15 starts. It was the best season of his six-year career. But will other teams believe that’s the norm? Also, Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon coached Kearse the first two years of his career in Minnesota when Kearse was a 7th-rounder out of Clemson.

Ronnie Harrison (Age: 24) The former third-round pick just finished his fourth NFL season and has played in 51 games with 40 starts in his career, although he has missed games. An important note here is that the Jaguars were the team that drafted him and former Jags GM Dave Caldwell works in the Eagles’ front office now.

DeShon Elliott (Age: 24) This would have to be a one-year deal for Elliott, who has looked good when he can actually stay on the field. The problem is that he’s really struggled with that. He played all 16 games in 2020 but missed the entire 2018 season and played a total of 12 games in his other two NFL seasons. To make this worth it, Elliott would have to come cheap.

Kareem Jackson (Age: 33) The longtime NFL veteran has actually been very durable in his career but will turn 34 next month. He still played at a pretty high level in Denver in 2021 but this would clearly be a stop-gap option.

Rodney McLeod (Age: 31) The Eagles should leave this possibility open. McLeod is getting older but the further he got away from that ACL injury last season, he played better. He seems to have something left and has really grown into his role as a team leader. Bringing him back on a one-year deal worth around $4 million seems fair.

Anthony Harris (Age: 30) It seems less likely that the Eagles bring Harris back for a second season, but it’s not a crazy thought. He didn’t really stand out much in 2021 but there’s a level of familiarity here the Eagles could fall back on.

Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube