Quietly, Jalen Mills is having a career season.
Sure, stating Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills is enjoying a career year may be a bit premature. He’s only played in four games so far this season, but his contribution to a recent defensive turnaround is undeniable.
Before Mills suited up for the first time this season, Philly’s pass defense was among the worst in the NFL. They were allowing 280 passing yards per game and a passer rating of 94.5 by the opposing quarterbacks they were facing, and they allowed 13 touchdowns through the air, all of which were 20th or worse in the league.
Since his return to the lineup, the Eagles’ pass defense has seen a complete turnaround. They’ve allowed 174 passing yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks are registering a passer rating of 81.1, and they’ve only allowed scores through the air four times. A defense that seemed like the clear weakness of this Eagles team has morphed into one of its’ strengths, and fans owe a few thank yous for that to Jalen Mills.
He isn’t the only reason the pass defense has improved so drastically. When Ronald Darby and slot corner Avonte Maddox returned from injury, Jim Schwartz’s secondary was at full strength for the first time all season, but neither of those two have played quite as well as Mills has.
Since Week 7, the first that Mills was active this year, he’s allowed a 57.7 passer rating when targeted, the third-best mark in the NFL during that time span.
He’s been consistent, and despite the majority of the fan base viewing him as a liability in the secondary, his confidence hasn’t wavered. Football is just as much of a mental game as it is physical, and Mills has displayed time and time again that nothing will hinder his confidence.
With his contract expiring at the end of this season, vice president and general manager Howie Roseman might have a tough decision regarding whether or not Mills should walk in free agency. He may cost a bit more now that he’s starting to play at a high level, but having a reliable corner is invaluable in the NFL.
Mills has proved that he’s more than just reliable this season, he’s a good corner who’s earned a healthy contract extension. Hopefully, Roseman realizes how valuable he’s been to the Birds’ defense and gives him the contract he deserves this offseason.