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It’s May, and the Eagles front office is still hard at work trying to round out their 2022 roster. Just yesterday, the team signed veteran corner James Bradberry to a one-year, $10M deal. The move will give the Eagles the best cornerback duo they’ve had in quite some time.
Bradberry’s addition will surely help the Eagles secondary, but the team still has a big question mark at the safety position. Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps are in line to start, and while they’re not the worst safety tandem in the league, they’re far from the best. Although I like Epps a lot, thrusting him into the starting lineup isn’t ideal. He’s better suited as the team’s third safety where he can play around the line of scrimmage.
Does Howie have one more move up his sleeve this offseason? It’s certainly possible, and it’s probable that that move will be at the safety position. We’ve already discussed a potential Jessie Bates trade, but there’s another name worth mentioning: Baltimore’s Chuck Clark.
After Baltimore drafted Notre Dame standout Kyle Hamilton in the first-round, it became pretty clear that Clark was on borrowed time. That’s nothing new for the former sixth-round pick, who’s had to scratch and claw his way up the depth chart ever since entering the league in 2017. In 2019, he became a starter for the Ravens defense. In the following two seasons, he literally never left the field. No seriously, he played 100% of the Ravens’ defensive snaps in 2020 and 2021.
Philly and Baltimore actually engaged in trade talks for Clark during the draft, but nothing came to fruition.
Clark is a do-it-all safety who has the type of skill set that will be successful in any defensive scheme. In 2021, Clark recorded over 100 snaps along the defensive line, in the box, as a free safety, and in the slot. For the year, he finished with a Pro Football Focus defensive grade of 66.2. He excelled in blitzing the quarterback, posting a pass rush grade of 72.3, which ranked ninth among all safeties.
At 27 years old, Clark is still in the prime of his career and won’t cost nearly as much as someone like Jessie Bates. After trading Marquise Brown during the NFL Draft, Baltimore is in desperate need of wide receiver help. Maybe Howie could offer Baltimore Jalen Reagor and a late round pick for Clark’s services? Reagor has obviously been a disappointment throughout his first two NFL seasons, but as a buy-low trade target who’s only 23 years old and could use a change of scenery, it’s not the worst option in the world. And he’ll certainly have an opportunity to see the field in Baltimore, something we can’t guarantee will happen here in Philly.
Heading into 2019, Clark signed a three-year, $15M contract with Baltimore, so he’ll be under contract through the 2023 season. His cap hits are pretty manageable over the next two seasons as well. Clark will have a cap hit of $4.6M this year with a $5.1M cap hit the following year, according to Spotrac.
Bates should still be the No. 1 option for Howie and the Eagles front office. But, if Bates ends up signing a long-term deal with Cincy, Clark is a pretty solid consolation prize.
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