They got it done. It’s been a while since it happened, but the Philadelphia Eagles satisfied a huge need albeit by adding someone much of the fan base paid little attention to. Amid rumors of a possible trade that would earn Philly the right to lay claim to Jessie Bates’ services, many of which were concocted by the loyal members of Eagles Nation, the Birds added the player that they probably need over the guy that most wanted. His name… Jaquiski Tartt.
Perhaps the best unsigned free-agent safety that was still available, the announcement of Tartt joining the Birds on a one-year deal came on Friday, June 17th. He should compete for a starting role immediately. There’s just no guarantee that he’ll earn it.
Perhaps Philly’s most underrated potential starter, Marcus Epps is ready to take the next step in his NFL journey with an expanded role in the Eagles’ defense. Anthony Harris was reacquired via a one-year deal on March 18th. Joining them at training camp is a very impressive Andre Chachere, third-year man and special teams maven K’Von Wallace, Jared Mayden, and undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship. It should be an interesting battle at safety all summer.
Tartt will make the team. It will be intriguing to watch the journey. The questions are about what his role will be and how good of an acquisition this was. Recently, two well-known and trusted voices in the Eagles community weighed in.
EJ Smith and Josh Tolentino weigh in on the Eagles’ Jaquiski Tartt addition.
Jaquiski Tartt, now firmly entrenched in what should be his prime years, now enters year eight of his NFL journey after the San Francisco 49ers made him the 46-overall selection of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played his college ball for the Samford Bulldogs where, believe it or not, he was a teammate of newly-minted Eagles cornerback James Bradberry.
Here’s some of what Josh Tolentino had to say in a recent write-up he and E.J. Smith cooked up for The Morning Call.
"Tartt is a quality safety with a ton of experience. He has been healthy throughout the majority of his career, and figures to compete for the starter role alongside Harris. While Tartt hasn’t forced many turnovers, he possesses versatility with reps at deep safety, box safety, and nickel cornerback. That skill set is one defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon relishes.Tartt’s signing likely serves as the bow to general manager Howie Roseman’s offseason additions… No matter how you look at it, Gannon’s defense is now better equipped to battle with the league’s top passing offenses."
E.J. Smith provided some insight by saying the following:
"The Eagles showed plenty of confidence in Marcus Epps when he projected as one of their starting safeties, but actions speak louder than words.Signing Jaquiski Tartt, a 31-year-old who’s logged 64 starts in a recently exemplary San Francisco 49ers defense, helps solidify the weakest spot in the Eagles’ new-look defense. It’s almost always important to temper expectations for a player signed this late in the offseason — they’re typically available for a reason — but Tartt started 14 games for the seventh-best defense in the league last year, according to Football Outsiders. He spent about 60% of his time as a post safety, the job the Eagles will ask him to do most, but also has some versatility to play in the box."
The one disagreement we have here is Tolentino’s statement that Tartt has been healthy for most of his career. He has never played the full slate of games in any NFL season. He’s battled knee issues, quadriceps and biceps injuries, a broken arm, shoulder concerns, and turf toe among other things.
He isn’t the turnover machine that most would like their safety to be. Following seven seasons, his interception tally stands at four career picks. In terms of the injury concerns, he was relatively healthy and sturdy in 2021. He appeared in 14 games and started every one of them before appearing in all three of the Niners’ playoff games. Unfortunately, he didn’t pick off a single pass and he’s credited with one pass breakup.
All things considered, however, this was a solid signing and the best option at safety that the Eagles had post-Tyrann Mathieu’s decision to sign with his hometown New Orleans Saints. Philadelphia’s secondary is better now than it was before his arrival.