The feelings came pouring out all over social media when a report revealed the news everyone had been dreading. Rodney McLeod is moving on from the Philadelphia Eagles after six years and one Super Bowl championship in midnight green.
The 31-year-old safety never received an offer from the Eagles, setting the stage for the Indianapolis Colts to sign him in free agency. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport was the first to report the move. McLeod re-tweeted it, then Darius Slay quickly chimed in with an appreciation post as did a bevy of the Philly faithful. The defensive captain was beloved for all his intangibles — especially his off-the-field work with Change Our Future — and filled the leadership void left by Malcolm Jenkins.
McLeod suited up in 75 career games for the Eagles while enduring two brutal knee surgeries in a four-year span. He leaves town with 347 total tackles, 11 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 sacks. Perhaps his most memorable moment came in Super Bowl LII when he stuffed Brandin Cooks for a jarring loss on a crucial 3rd-and-2.
He seemed to sense that the writing might be on the wall following the wild-card playoff loss to Tampa Bay back in Janaury. The University of Virginia product briefly touched on the future and the emotions of his last game.
“The seas change every single year. My future here is unknown,” McLeod told reporters, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “This is not how I wanted it to end if this is the last time for me. But at the end of the day, man, I’m proud of my guys. Proud of what we’ve overcome this year and what we were able to do with this team.”
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Eagles Looking to Upgrade at Safety
It’s unclear if Philadelphia attempted to lure him back on a team-friendly deal. Nothing has been reported. Losing McLeod leaves the team razor-thin at safety heading into the 2022 campaign, with Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps topping the depth chart. They also have third-year safety K’Von Wallace there.
Tyrann Mathieu remains available in free agency as a high-priced option. The three-time Pro Bowler had a virtual visit with the Eagles and the two sides are remaining in touch. The favorites to land Mathieu’s services appear to be Philadelphia and New Orleans. He finished with 76 tackles, three interceptions, and three passes defensed last season.
Could Notre Dame Stud Fall to Philly?
Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton was thought to be out of play for Philly in the first round. Most mock drafts have him going in the top-5, including as high as No. 2 to the Detroit Lions. Mel Kiper Jr. said there was no way he’d drop all the way down to No. 15: “It’s not going to happen. Because he’s going to go 2 I think. And if he doesn’t go 2, then he goes 3 or 4.”
However, the conversation is starting to change a bit following Hamilton’s lackluster results at the NFL Scouting Combine. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller is hearing chatter about the top-rated safety falling out of the top-10. The Eagles pick at No. 15 and No. 18.