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January 27, 2019

Eagles stay or go: Safety

Eagles NFL

The Philadelphia Eagles' 2018 season is over, and there will be a lot of interesting decisions made on the players currently on the roster, perhaps more so than in most years. Let's take a position-by-position look at who will likely be back with the team in 2019, and who won't. 

Previous stay or go positional analysis

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end

Offensive tackle | Interior offensive line

Defensive end | Defensive tackle | Linebacker | Cornerback

Today we'll look at the safeties.

Malcolm Jenkins

While Fletcher Cox is the best player on the defense, Jenkins is the heart and soul of it. In addition to being a clear team leader, Jenkins is a versatile piece who can play safety, slot corner, outside corner, and linebacker. He is an incredibly important figure in the Eagles' organization, and a great player.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay, obviously.

Your verdict:

Rodney McLeod

It was originally thought that McLeod "only" tore his MCL Week 3 against the Colts, but it was later revealed that he also tore his ACL. McLeod's injury occurred in September, so it's possible that he could be ready for the start of the 2019 season.

McLeod is scheduled to count for $9,906,250 against the salary cap in 2019, $5,093,750 of which the Eagles would save if they traded or released him. McLeod showed how valuable he is after he was gone, as the Eagles' safety play dipped significantly after he was lost for the 2018 season.

The Eagles would ideally like to have McLeod back at a lower salary cap charge, but at the same time, if McLeod isn't willing to take a pay cut, releasing him would leave a glaring hole at safety. The Eagles could also view Avonte Maddox as a suitable replacement at safety, but by moving him to the back end, the Eagles would be depleting ever-important corner depth. 

Perhaps McLeod and the Eagles can find some middle ground, in the form of a contract restructure (or even an extension) that lowers his 2019 cap number.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Corey Graham

Graham wasn't that bad in 2018. I think we all just remember his bad play in overtime against the Tennessee Titans that ultimately cost the Eagles a win.

Still, Graham is another year older and slower. In 2018, he didn't sign with the team until the Eagles were already deep into training camp. I don't think that waiting until August is a prudent way to handle the No. 3 safety spot this offseason.

#JimmyVerdict: Go.

Your verdict:

Tre Sullivan

Sullivan got a lot of playing time down the stretch when the Eagles started playing a lot of three-safety sets. He went from a special teamer-only who never saw the field otherwise, to a guy who saw a small handful of snaps, to a regular contributor.

 Tre SullivanSnaps Snap percentage 
Falcons 0 of 70 0% 
Buccaneers 0 of 58 0% 
Colts 0 of 59 0% 
Titans 0 of 71 0% 
Vikings 0 of 62 0% 
Giants 3 of 65 4.6% 
Panthers 3 of 59 5.1% 
Jaguars 2 of 64 3.1% 
Cowboys 22 of 69 31.9% 
Saints 6 of 70 8.6% 
Giants 32 of 62 51.6% 
Redskins 23 of 45 51.1% 
Cowboys 31 of 99 31.3% 
Rams 30 of 76 39.5% 
Texans 41 of 65 63.1% 
Redskins 26 of 45 57.8% 
Bears 48 of 64 75.0% 
Saints 39 of 77 50.6% 

While injuries certainly played a part in Sullivan's increase in playing time, there's also little doubt that he earned more trust from Jim Schwartz along the way.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Deiondre Hall

The Eagles traded a seventh-round pick for Hall last year, and he is under contract in 2019 for peanuts.

#JimmyVerdict: He'll be in Eagles camp in 2019, but he'll have to prove he's roster-worthy.

Your verdict:

Chris Maragos

Maragos is a team leader and a great person, but I fear his career is over after he needed a second surgery recently for a knee injury he suffered during the 2017 season.

#JimmyVerdict: Go.

Your verdict:

#JimmyVerdict Stay or Go Results

Green = Stay

Red = Go

Orange = Will be back in camp in 2019, but a roster spot is not guaranteed

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

 QBCarson Wentz Nick Foles Nate Sudfeld  
 RB Jay AjayiCorey Clement Darren Sproles Wendell Smallwood 
 RB (cont.)Josh Adams Boston Scott   
 WR Alshon JefferyMike Wallace  Nelson AgholorGolden Tate 
 WR (cont.)Mack Hollins Shelton Gibson Jordan Matthews  
 TE Zach ErtzDallas Goedert Richard Rodgers Josh Perkins 
 OT Jason PetersLane Johnson Halapoulivaati Vaitai Jordan Mailata 
 OGBrandon Brooks Isaac Seumalo Chance Warmack Matt Pryor 
 C Jason KelceStefen Wisniewski   
 DEBrandon Graham Derek Barnett Michael Bennett Chris Long 
 DE (cont.)Josh Sweat Daeshon Hall   
 DTFletcher Cox Timmy Jernigan Haloti Ngata Treyvon Hester 
 DT (cont.)Bruce Hector    
 LBNigel Bradham Jordan Hicks Kamu Grugier-Hill Nate Gerry 
 LB (cont.) LaRoy ReynoldsD.J. Alexander B.J. Bello Paul Worrilow 
 CBJalen Mills Ronald Darby Sidney Jones Rasul Douglas 
 CB (cont.)Avonte Maddox Cre'Von LeBlanc   
 SMalcolm Jenkins Rodney McLeod Corey Graham Tre Sullivan 
 S (cont.) Deiondre HallChris Maragos   
 Head coach    
 Offensive coordinator    
 Defensive coordinator    

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