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February 21, 2018

Eagles stay or go: Safeties

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles' offseason is (finally) underway, let's take a look at each position and figure out which players will be back in 2018, and which ones will be playing elsewhere. Here we'll look at safety.

Previous "Stay or Go" positional analysis
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver
Tight end | Offensive tackle | Guard/Center
Defensive end | Defensive tackle | Inside linebacker
Outside linebacker | Cornerback

Malcolm Jenkins

On the field, Jenkins was as versatile a defender as imaginable, as he played safety, slot corner, linebacker, and outside corner in 2017. Off the field, he was one of the leaders of the team. It's crazy to think that the Eagles actually considered including him in a package to acquire Brandin Cooks last offseason.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Rodney McLeod

Last offseason, the Eagles converted over $3 million of McLeod's salary into a bonus, thus creating immediate savings while spreading out his cap cost over the duration of his contract. Teams only do that with players they are willing to make long-term commitments to, so McLeod isn't going anywhere for years.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Corey Graham

Graham had some bad moments early in the season while playing hurt, most notably against the Chiefs, when Kareem Hunt made him look old. However, as the season progressed, Graham played well and was a valuable piece as a third safety.

MORE ON THE EAGLES: Report: Alshon Jeffery underwent shoulder surgery after playing entire season with torn rotator cuff | Recap: Eagles chat with Jimmy Kempski | Analysis of all 29 of Doug Pederson's 4th down 'go for it' calls in 2017 | Report: Eagles promote Mike Groh to offensive coordinator

#JimmyVerdict: Like I said with LeGarrette Blount, I think the Eagles will wait until after the draft to decide on if they bring Graham back. If they select a safety or corner (with safety ability) reasonably early, I would lean against it. If not, I think they'd quickly move to re-sign him, if he hasn't already landed elsewhere. Graham should be back. It's just a matter of at what cost? I think the Eagles get something done there.

Your verdict:

Jaylen Watkins

According to Ian Rapoport on NFL Network, the Eagles decided not to tender Watkins as a restricted free agent. That was an easy decision, as doing so would have meant a $1.1 million raise. When Watkins had to play in 2017, he filled in capably, but is not worth the roughly $2 million that a restricted free agent tender would cost. The team could look to add Watkins back to the roster at something closer to the veteran minimum.

#JimmyVerdict: Go, for now, but maybe re-sign at some point?

Your verdict:

Chris Maragos

Maragos is one of the best special teams players in the NFL, but he'll be coming back from a serious knee injury. If the Eagles were to release Maragos, they would save $1.5 million. 

#JimmyVerdict: That's not out of the question, but I'd lean strongly toward Maragos returning in 2018.

Your verdict:

#JimmyVerdict Stay or Go Results

Green = Stay

Red = Go

Orange = They'll make it to camp, and will have to prove they belong on the roster.

(Note: Some mobile versions will not display colors.)

 QBCarson Wentz Nick Foles Nate Sudfeld  
 RBJay Ajayi LeGarrette Blount Corey Clement Darren Sproles 
 RB (cont) Wendell SmallwoodDonnel Pumphrey Kenjon Barner  
 WRAlshon Jeffery Torrey Smith Nelson Agholor Mack Hollins 
 WR (cont) Shelton GibsonMarcus Johnson   
 TE Zach ErtzBrent Celek Trey Burton  
 OT Jason PetersLane Johnson Halapoulivaati Vaitai Will Beatty 
 OGBrandon Brooks Stefen Wisniewski Chance Warmack  
 C Jason KelceIsaac Seumalo   
 DEBrandon Graham Vinny Curry Derek Barnett Chris Long 
 DE (cont) Steven Means   
 DTFletcher Cox Tim Jernigan Beau Allen Destiny Vaeao 
 DT (cont)Elijah Qualls    
 ILBJordan Hicks Dannell Ellerbe Najee Goode Joe Walker 
 OLBNigel Bradham Mychal Kendricks Kamu Grugier-Hill Nate Gerry 
 CBJalen Mills Ronald Darby Patrick Robinson Sidney Jones 
 CB (cont) Rasul Douglas   
 SMalcolm Jenkins Rodney McLeod Corey Graham Jaylen Watkins 
 S (cont) Chris Maragos   
 Head coach    
 Defensive coordinator    

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