The NFL free agency period is less than a week away and the Eagles have already been involved in some big rumors. They were reportedly shooting offers towards Seattle for Russell Wilson before ultimately being turned down. They were also on the brink of making a deal with Atlanta for wideout Calvin Ridley a few weeks ago, only to find out he was gambling on his own sport.
There will be no shortage of rumors as free agency approaches. Pro Football Focus chimed in on the Eagles free agency discussion in an article that laid out perfect free agency matches for each NFL team.
For Howie Roseman and his Eagles, PFF suggests that safety Marcus Maye would be a great fit in Jonathan Gannon’s defense. Here’s their full breakdown on it:
Maye is one of several free agents entering free agency off a significant, season-ending injury. Add that Maye wasn’t playing all that well before his injury and it’s reasonable to expect a suppressed market. PFF currently projects Maye to sign a one-year, $6 million contract this offseason. That could present an opportunity for a team like Philadelphia in need of safety help.
Maye is a versatile free safety who has graded out well in zone coverage throughout his career, particularly in 2020 when he earned an 85.8 PFF coverage grade. Philadelphia’s 2021 starters — Anthony Harris and Rodney McLeod — are both free agents.”Perfect free-agent matches for all 32 NFL teams, why they fit: One player each team must sign, including Allen Robinson to the Browns
Aside from the fact that Howie has been known to hand out one-year deals to aging veterans over the years, there’s no reason for the Eagles to pursue Maye this offseason.
For starters, he’s 29 years old and coming off a torn Achilles. The injury occurred in Week 9 against the Colts, so there’s a good chance he isn’t even ready to go by the start of the 2022 season. Not to mention, Maye was in the midst of a pretty forgettable season prior to the injury. In coverage, Maye ws allowing over 19 yards per reception and a passer rating of 97.1 when targeted. His finished his 2021 campaign with a lowly 49.9 coverage grade from PFF.
Safety will be an obvious need for the Eagles this offseason, there’s no denying that. But I imagine Howie will look to retain Rodney McLeod on a one-year deal to shore up the backend a bit. That still leaves a pretty glaring hole on the opposite side of McLeod with Anthony Harris’ departure looming. But, we saw how much Gannon liked Marcus Epps last season. He played a career-high 505 defensive snaps last season, which accounted for 48 percent of the total defensive snaps from the Eagles.
Epps isn’t a true two-high safety, he excels when he’s primarily used around the line of scrimmage. Nevertheless, Gannon clearly likes him and he’ll only be 26 heading into next year.
If Howie is going to address this need through free agency, he’s going to go for one of the big fish (i.e. Marcus Williams, Tyrann Mathieu, Quandre Diggs, etc.). And if he doesn’t land one of them, the draft makes more sense than acquiring an aging veteran coming off major surgery. There are plenty of safety options to be had in the second or third round of the upcoming draft.
On the surface, I can see why PFF thinks Maye would be a great fit here. But in reality, there are bigger fish to fry this offseason and Roseman understands that.