Eagles Urged to Sign 4-Time All-Pro to Bolster Big Weakness


Getty Images GM Howie Roseman and the Eagles could look to make a major addition in the secondary.

The Philadelphia Eagles have been among the more aggressive teams in free agency, adding marquee names at some of the roster’s biggest needs. However, general manager Howie Roseman still has work to do.

Few position groups experienced a more dramatic dropoff during a late-season collapse to close out the 2023 season than the secondary. After hiring Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator, the Eagles could turn to one of his former players to upgrade arguably the biggest weakness remaining on the roster.

The 33rd Team links the Eagles as four-time Second-Team All-Pro Justin Simmons‘ best fit, as the second wave of free agency rolls on.

“A saturated safety market might help the Eagles here,” Dan Pizzuta writes for The 33rd Team. “There was a lot of talent to go around, and outside of the 25-year-old Xavier McKinney, there weren’t many big contracts given out at the position. Philadelphia still has more than $27 million in effective cap space, per Over The Cap. That should allow the team to give a soon-to-be 31-year-old a competitive offer. Justin Simmons played more single-high safety in 2023 than he had in his previous three seasons and still comes with the ability to play the slot and in the box.

“Adding Simmons could allow more movement for C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who signed a three-year deal this offseason and has experience at safety and the slot. He mostly played the slot early in his career, then played more safety in Philadelphia and Detroit.”

What Justin Simmons would Add Eagles

Signing Simmons would certainly be a little bit redundant for the Eagles, after reuniting with Gardner-Johnson, but, the need at safety is significant enough to justify adding a player of Simmons’ caliber.

Last season, Simmons posted 70 total tackles with one sack, three interceptions, eight pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

Meanwhile, according to Pro Football Focus, opposing quarterbacks posted a paltry 85.9 passer rating when targeting him last season.

Simmons played some of the best football of his career under Fangio, making two of his All-Pro appearances during Fangio’s tenure as Broncos head coach.

“I owe a lot of my success to Vic and his staff, because just the way they implemented their defense and made me learn the game in a whole new perspective,” Simmons told the Philadelphia Inquirer, of Philadelphia’s Fangio hiring. “It was a whole new defense, it was a whole new way of learning. So Philadelphia’s got a great one.”

What is Justin Simmons’ Market Value?

The safety market seems to be experiencing a nadir similar to what running backs went through last offseason.

According to Spotrac, Simmons could fetch a two-year contract worth $11.1 million, annually, which would make him the sixth-highest paid free safety in the NFL.

An affordable contract for Simmons would be easily manageable for the Eagles, as Roseman has orchestrated a bit of a free agency masterclass with Philadelphia still boasting upwards of $30.8 million in cap space. The Eagles still have the NFL’s fourth-most spending flexibility, even after marquee additions such as Saquon Barkley, Bryce Huff, Gardner-Johnson, Devin White, and others.

Signing Simmons to solidify the secondary would go a long way toward checking off one of the few remaining items on Roseman’s offseason to-do list.

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