The Philadelphia Eagles will have to move on to Plan B for filling their void at safety after Marcus Williams received $70 million in free agency. According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Williams will head to the Baltimore Ravens on a five-year deal.
The Eagles were expected to make a run at Williams and apparently, they did. Inside the Birds’ Geoff Mosher reported that Philadelphia had “competitive discussions” and “were close” to the offer he got. The former second-round pick was widely considered to be the best safety on the market following a strong five-year run in New Orleans.
Williams allowed a 54.2 passer rating when in primary coverage in 2021, per Pro Football Focus, allowing one touchdown with two interceptions. He has 320 total tackles and 15 interceptions, along with 38 pass breakups, since going 42nd overall to the Saints in 2017. He formed a formidable safety tandem with Malcolm Jenkins last year.
Philadelphia was a hot destination for Williams since Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris are both impending free agents. They’ll need to either re-sign those guys or look elsewhere for replacements. Several national writers predicted that Williams would be wearing a midnight green jersey in 2022, including NFL insiders at The Athletic, Pro Football Focus, and ESPN. Obviously, it wasn’t meant to be.
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Chiefs Sign Justin Reid, Marcus Maye Available
The Eagles also watched former Houston Texans safety Justin Reid get away on Tuesday. He intends to ink a three-year, $31.5 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He’ll likely replace Tyrann Mathieu who is on his way out the door.
With the two of the better safeties off the board, the Eagles should focus their energy on Marcus Maye. The 29-year-old endured a disappointing 2021 campaign but blame a torn Achilles for that. He has traditionally been a good player, one rumored to be in line for a pretty cheap $6 million per year.
Eagles Tender Nate Herbig at Lowest Level
Young swing guard Nate Herbig should be back in Philly for the 2022 season. The Eagles tendered him at the “right of first refusal level,” per NBC Sports’ Dave Zangaro. That puts his one-year salary at $2.433 million, the lowest level available to a restricted free agent.
Herbig confirmed the move on Twitter. Philadelphia is assuming another team doesn’t swoop in with a bank-breaking offer, although they could match it. They are gambling no one else wants to throw big money at Herbig.
The undrafted kid out of Stanford has turned into a reliable backup and fill-in starter for the Eagles. He has started 17 games in three NFL seasons while bouncing around between left guard and right guard. The 23-year-old was also the team’s backup center last season.
Brandon Brooks name-dropped Herbig during his retirement press conference at the end of January. That probably wasn’t by coincidence. He’s highly regarded within the organization.
“I think the O-line room … with Jordan Mailata really coming into his own, you got Isaac [Seumalo] coming back, you got Landon [Dickerson], Nate Herbig, Jack Driscoll, you got Lane [Johnson] and guys like that,” Brooks said. “The room is in great hands moving forward. It was best to step aside and let them do their thing.”