The biggest mystery of the 2014 offseason is what will happen at Safety. Reuben Frank talked to Howie Roseman this weekend on a variety of subjects, one of which was Safety.
My takeaway is that the Eagles will make a move at Safety…but it may not be what you think. Roob asked about whether the Eagles would be comfortable with Earl Wolff and a rookie starting together.
“We want to be careful of going into the draft and just having a big hole there,” Roseman said. “And I think there are things you can do at any position that are short-term stopgaps to get you through the moment if you had to, if you didn’t find someone in the draft.”
Howie isn’t saying the Eagles will go get TJ Ward or Jairus Byrd. He is saying the team will have at least a serviceable starter to go alongside Wolff. This could be an impact free agent. It could be Nate Allen. It could be a mid-level starter signed through free agency. It won’t shock me if they hold on to Patrick Chung as an emergency option. I repeat…emergency option.
If the Eagles do sign a stud Safety in free agency, they won’t feel pressure to take one early in the draft. They still could, but there won’t be a sense of need. If the Eagles have a marginal player in there, Safety will be more of a priority in the draft.
Some people took Howie’s comments to mean that the Eagles would go for one of the top guys. I just don’t think that is the case. The Eagles will look into those players, but Howie made mention of how tough that situation is. You end up paying great player money to good players and good player money to pretty good players. That might be okay now, but can affect your cap situation in the long run.
There is no question the Eagles would love to add a talent like Ward or Byrd. The question is how much those guys are worth. Heck, Ward might not even hit the market. That could lead to a huge bidding war for Byrd’s services. Is he worth mega-bucks? I don’t think so. I’m sure the Eagles will talk to their agents and see if the players have reasonable demands or if they are asking for crazy money. The Eagles aren’t going to hand a blank check to those guys.
One name I’d like to throw out as a possible target…Saints S Malcolm Jenkins. He played CB at Ohio State. Jenkins isn’t athletic enough to pull that off in the NFL, but he’s got a versatile background, having played some Nickelback as a rookie. He’s 6-0, 204, which is solid size. He won’t turn 27 until December. Jenkins can play in the box. He had 2.5 sacks and 5 TFLs this year. He had 2 FFs. Jenkins can also make plays in the passing game. He had 2 INTs and 5 pass deflections this year.
Jenkins isn’t an elite player, but might be the kind of guy you’d be willing to spend good money on. He seems like a high character guy. Jenkins has been a team captain for the Saints. He won some big games at Ohio State and has been a winner with the Saints.
I need to watch tape of him and other FAs before I say anything definitive, but Jenkins could be an interesting name that the Eagles wouldn’t have to break the bank for.