By Connor Thomas

 

Well, we’ve made it through every position but one (outside of special teams), so it’s time to round out this series with a look at some free agent safeties that could end up in Philadelphia this offseason. There are some strong free agent corners that the Eagles should target that could help with the pass defense in Philly, but safety is part of that equation as well. With Rodney McLeod hitting free agency himself, and with a need at the other safety spot even if McLeod is re-signed, here are some names to highlight that could cover those needs in 2022 for the birds:

  • Terrell Edmunds

    Edmunds started all 17 games at safety this past season for Pittsburgh, and the 25 year old is due for a nice pay bump because of his efforts in those starts. The Steelers are one of the great defensive franchises in football year in and year out, but it is a blessing and sometimes a curse. They have numerous high profile players to pay, and sometimes young studs like Edmunds slip through the cracks. He put up 89 tackles, a sack, and 2 picks last season, and has a higher ceiling still as he continues to progress in his career. He could be a long term replacement for McLeod if the Eagles feel comfortable spending.

  • Tyrann Mathieu

    If you follow football, you’ve heard about the honey badger for years now, even since he was a standout at LSU. Mathieu is approaching 30 now, but is still very dangerous in the defensive backfield, and was paid in accordance with that this season. He banked $14mil with Kansas City in 2021, and rewarded the Chiefs with 76 tackles, a sack, and 3 interceptions. He can certainly look for another multi-year deal, but with Patrick Mahomes’ monster contract beginning to kick in more each year, it may not be in KC. He would be an immediate upgrade over any safety the Eagles have on their roster, and hey, he did return punts when he first came into the league so maybe that means the birds can finally stop putting Jalen Reagor back there? Just wishful thinking.

  • Marcus Williams

    Williams is just 25 years old and is already a bona fide starting safety in the NFL for the Saints. He’s certainly proven he’s got a nose for the ball, recording 15 interceptions since coming into the league in 2017. He’s already set a precedent of getting paid, making over $10mil this past season. Everything points to Williams being a very good young safety. So why would New Orleans let him go? Simple: they’re in absolute cap hell down in the Big Easy. They are more than $76mil over the cap, and that means that they are a shipwreck waiting to be scavenged for treasure. Williams is one of those treasures that will be popular and expensive, but would be worth the investment.

  • DeShon Elliott

    Elliott is another young player on another great defensive team that is available this offseason. He doesn’t have the production of Marcus Williams or Terrell Edmunds, but the former 6th round pick has carved out a nice little role for himself in Baltimore as part of a strong Ravens’ secondary. Because of his later round draft status, Elliott only made $654k this year. That means that he should be a low cost option that could turn into a long term investment at the safety position. The Eagles have long needed to infuse youth at the safety spot, and if they want to buy low on a player and develop them in house, Elliott could fit that mold perfectly.

  • Rodney McLeod

    McLeod is 31 years old, and that’s pretty much his only drawback. He’s a defensive leader, a productive player, a smart veteran in the secondary, a leader in the community, and a great guy to have in the locker room. He has become an injury risk now that he’s later on in his career, which is why it is time for the Eagles to explore future options at safety, but bringing McLeod back for another year would be a great bridge to the next generation of Eagles safeties. It may feel like a nostalgia move, and honestly, it probably is. That being said, locker room guys like McLeod don’t grow on trees, especially ones that have the ability to produce like he does. It wouldn’t be prudent to sign him to a multi-year deal, but for a one year contract to keep in Philly? I would absolutely say yes to that.