HomeDa Birds NewsEddie Jackson: Why Eagles Should Steer Clear of Big-Name Traps

Eddie Jackson: Why Eagles Should Steer Clear of Big-Name Traps

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PHILADELPHIA – Big-name season is here and the rebuilding Chicago Bears decided to populate the free-agency pond a little more on Thursday when they moved on from a couple of organization mainstays in Cody Whitehair and Eddie Jackson.

The latter immediately sparked interest in Philadelphia because Jackson was once a playmaking stud who once excelled under Eagles defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, turning into an All-Pro by just his second NFL season back in 2018.

This league moves pretty fast, however.

Former Bears S Eddie Jackson

USA Today

Take Fangio. Since leaving Chicago to become the head coach in Denver for three seasons, Fangio had also worked as a consultant for the Eagles in the lead-up to Super Bowl LVII after the 2022 season and took over the Miami defense in 2023 as the highest-paid coordinator in NFL history before coming back to Philadelphia to take over a stop unit that desperately needs an influx of youth, speed, and athleticism.

Jackson, 30, spent that entire time with the Bears but never reached the same heights he did when he was a difference-maker in Fangio’s scheme.

Pro Football Focus graded Jackson as the top safety in the entire NFL in 2018. Since then, post-Fangio, the Alabama product has only had one season in which he was graded better than mediocre, an outlier 2022 campaign where he was No. 13 of the 88 safeties who played enough to be ranked.

The other finishes were No. 44 of 83 in 2019, coming off his All-Pro campaign without Fangio for the first time, No. 63 of 94 in 2020, No. 65 of 92 in 2021, and No. 76 of 95 last season, making it easy for Chicago to move on.

The Bears saved $21.7 million in cap space by moving on from Jackson and Whitehair, who was also once a Pro Bowl player.

From the Eagles’ standpoint, the organization needs help at safety but even if you default to Jackson playing better with Fangio’s stewardship, expecting a 30-year-old player to halt a pretty significant decline late in his career is a stretch.

Related: Bears Cut All-Pro DB; Should Eagles Sign to Create Reunion?

Maybe Jackson serves as a better-fitted Band-Aid than veteran trade pickup Kevin Byard, a former two-time All-Pro himself, but the best-case scenario is that being a short-term lift.

The Eagles’ goal should be finding a longer-term answer on the back end. That’s somewhat complicated by Sydney Brown’s late-season torn ACL but any early swings at the position should have that in mind.

Targeting Jackson should only serve as a contingency explored if the more common-sense avenues are closed for Howie Roseman.

As the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for the upcoming NFL season, the free-agency market has been an area of focus. With the rebuilding Chicago Bears deciding to move on from Cody Whitehair and Eddie Jackson, the Eagles have found an opportunity to potentially strengthen their defensive unit. Jackson, who once excelled under Eagles defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, turned into an All-Pro by just his second NFL season back in 2018.

However, it is important to note that Jackson has not reached the same heights he did when he was a difference-maker in Fangio’s scheme. Pro Football Focus graded Jackson as the top safety in the entire NFL in 2018, but his performance in subsequent seasons has declined significantly. The Bears saved $21.7 million in cap space by moving on from Jackson and Whitehair, indicating a lack of confidence in their continued performance.

As the Eagles aim to address their defensive needs, it is crucial to weigh the potential benefits and risks of targeting Jackson. While he may offer short-term improvement, the organization should ultimately prioritize finding a longer-term solution for the safety position. This is especially important in light of Sydney Brown’s late-season torn ACL, which complicates the team’s defensive strategy.

In considering Jackson as a potential acquisition, the Eagles must carefully assess the state of the free-agency market and explore all available options before making a decision. While Jackson’s previous success under Fangio’s leadership is noteworthy, expecting a 30-year-old player to reverse a significant decline late in his career may be unrealistic. The organization should be prepared to pursue other avenues if targeting Jackson does not align with their long-term defensive goals.

Overall, the Eagles’ pursuit of defensive reinforcements in the free-agency market presents an opportunity to strengthen the team’s position and address areas of need. With strategic planning and a comprehensive evaluation of potential acquisitions, the organization can make informed decisions that align with their long-term objectives.

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