Eagles 2021 starting safety tandem shut out on list of top 101 free agents

Rodney McLeod #23, Anthony Harris #28, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Rodney McLeod #23, Anthony Harris #28, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

May they continue to rest in peace, but somewhere, Buddy Ryan and Jim Johnson are turning over in their graves. That’s a promise. Once known for their defensive prowess, the argument can be made that most of the Philadelphia Eagles‘ biggest concerns lie on that side of the ball.

The leader on defense, Jonathan Gannon, doesn’t really inspire fans or strike fear in the hearts of his opponents. Some would say he doesn’t inspire the guys that play for him.

Heading into the 2022 NFL offseason, the Birds have questions to answer and decisions to make about impending free agents that play at every level of their defensive roster: the defensive line (Derek Barnett, Ryan Kerrigan, and Hassan Ridgeway), at linebacker (Alex Singleton and Genard Avery), and in the secondary, where they have yet to extend cornerback Steven Nelson or their starting safety tandem from the 2021-2022 NFL season.

Eagles Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris are left off of CBS’ list of the top 101 free agents.

Though it wasn’t what we’d call a dominant showing by the Eagles defense, we did see a few things to get excited about. Despite being named to football’s all-star team as alternates, Javon Hargrave and Josh Sweat both made the Pro Bowl for the first time. Avonte Maddox made the Pro Bowl. We also saw an above-average safety rotation featuring Rodney McLeod, Marcus Epps, and Anthony Harris.

As you know, both Harris and McLeod are at the end of their respective deals, and it can’t be ruled out that there’s a huge possibility that the franchise will move on from both. Recently, NFL.com crafted a list of the top 101 free agents entering the NFL’s carousel. McLeod and Harris were left out of the discussion.

Strangely, Derek Barnett made the list at 72. That’s arguable and a better discussion to be had on another day, but 12 safeties made the list: Jessie Bates, Tyrann Mathieu, Marcus Williams, Quandre Diggs, Marcus Maye, Deshon Elliott, Justin Reid, Jordan Whitehead, Jayron Kearse, Tracy Walker, Devin McCourty, Xavier Woods. P.J. Williams, listed as a defensive back, made the list at 99.

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Over the past two months, arguments have been made that Anthony Harris’ exit is inevitable. There has also been talk about Rodney McLeod both staying and leaving. We won’t have to wait much longer to see what the Eagles’ decision winds up being, but while we’re biding our time, there is another way to look at this.

If the Philadelphia Eagles are interested in a facelift at safety, they will have some options if they fish in free agency’s pool. Frankly, doing that and adding a young prospect in the draft might be the best-case scenario.