It was a relatively quiet day for the Philadelphia Eagles. They didn’t make quite the splash that was expected given the amount of cap space that they have. However, the moves that they did make were very good.
Donnie Jones: First, the Eagles re-signed 2013 punter Donnie Jones to a three year contract. While not the most sexy move, Jones was the best free agent they had pending, so re-signing him was a top priority. Jones set numerous Eagles records last year including net punting average (40.3 yards) and number of punts downed inside the 20-yard line (33). He also had several big plays to help them win games, which isn’t something you normally hear about a punter. In fact, Jones could potentially have helped us win our playoff game against the New Orleans Saints last year, had his last punt been downed inside the Saints’ one yard line, as it should have, instead of accidentally kicked into the end zone for a touchback (yes, I’m cringing too). Resigning him was a no-brainer.
Patrick Chung: The Eagles released former safety Patrick Chung after a horrendous showing in 2013. Again, releasing players is never a sexy move, but it was definitely a necessary one. The Eagles, along with many fans (myself included) were hoping that Chung would revive his career in Philly once he was reunited with his former coach at Oregon, head coach Chip Kelly. The outcome was anything but revitalization, as Chung played horribly last year. He was going to count for about $3.5 million against the cap this year, but safety depth isn’t worth that. Our Eagles are better off drafting a safety or two and picking up a couple of safeties in free agency.
Malcolm Jenkins: Free agency for the Eagles officially began with their signing of former New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins is expected to come in and make an impact on defense. The former cornerback and first round pick out of Ohio State has decent size for the safety position at 6’0″ 205 pounds, making him the tallest safety on the roster. I think the key to his signing is his versatility, which you know Chip Kelly loves. With the Saints, Jenkins was known for being able to play as a nickelback and also cover tight ends. While he doesn’t have the best ball skills (6 career interceptions in 5 years), he is a quality safety and a much-needed upgrade to last years safety corps. Jenkins is also known for being a quality locker room guy, which falls in line with what Chip is looking for.
Overall, the Eagles had a quality, if quiet, day to kick off free agency. There are still some big name players on the market so perhaps the best is yet to come.
Feel free to discuss in the comments below.