Whether you agree or not, the Eagles feel confident in their safety tandem for 2020. One of them will have to fill a huge leadership void.
Rodney McLeod knows he has big shoes to fill in the absence of Malcolm Jenkins. He and Jalen Mills have freely admitted that truth. McLeod is the elder statesman of the two and looks to lock down the free-safety spot after signing a two-year $8.65 million contract with the Eagles. More importantly, the 29-year-old — McLeod will turn 30 on June 23 — has already committed to taking a bigger leadership role.
“Myself, being a leader on this team for some time … we will all be asked to step up,” McLeod told reporters on a conference call. “I don’t think much will change for me, I’ll just continue to be myself.”
The undrafted free agent out of Virginia has recorded 223 tackles and eight interceptions in four seasons in midnight green, plus four forced fumbles and two sacks. Last year, McLeod started all 16 regular-season games despite coming off season-ending MCL/ACL injuries in 2018. He had two picks and 76 total tackles. He admitted other teams made overtures in free agency but ultimately he wanted to stay in Philadelphia.
“I feel like it made sense for me, being here these four years,” McLeod said. “I wanted to continue to play my career here in this city that’s embraced me and that I love dearly.”
McLeod Makes $25K Donation to Philabundance to Fight COVID-19
Rodney McLeod has embraced the Philly community both on and off the field during his four years in town. He married his longtime girlfriend, Erika Lee, in 2018 shortly after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII. The couple met when they were 19 and 18, respectively, per Yahoo Lifestyle.
The McLeods started their Change Our Future Foundation in 2020 as a way to “impact the lives of others” and recently made a $25,000 donation to local food bank Philabundance in an effort to feed families affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. They are also working with the Philadelphia School District.
“It’s a time for all to get together and try to help out the community that needs it the most,” McLeod said.
Free Safety Restructured Contract in 2019
Rodney McLeod has enjoyed a mostly good run over his four years in Philly, mainly due to killer ball instincts and sound tackling. However, there have been some concerns over his health and coverage skills. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 60th-best out of 101 safeties in the NFL.
He’s also one of the most unselfish players on the Eagles’ roster. McLeod, who spent his first four years with the Rams, restructured his contract in 2019 as part of a cap-saving move that set his base salary at $3 million. His base salary for 2020 is $1.05 million, per Spotrac, and jumps up to $4.05 million in yearly cash.
Again, it’s all about winning another championship. He also has some history with new defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel who coached him in the 2012 East-West Shrine Game.
“I feel like there is more work to be done here,” McLeod said. “I’m glad to potentially have a chance to finish my career off here and potentially make more impactful plays for this city.”
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