Philadelphia didn’t make the splash some fans may have wished, but they took a step toward improving their lackluster secondary, signing Malcolm Jenkins to a three-year, $16.25 million contract with $8.5 million in guaranteed money.
In what could be termed the year of the safety, we saw several players at the position receive big contracts. Jenkins’ deal doesn’t rival what Jairus Byrd received, but this is still a solid payday for the 26-year-old.
Safety was arguably the Eagles big need following a debacle of a season in 2013 where Philly cobbled together a secondary with Nate Allen, Patrick Chung, and Earl Wolff.
Jenkins is an upgrade over all three incumbents, but he doesn’t arrive with a sterling resume. Over the past two seasons, Jenkins has really struggled for the Saints, missing a combined 20 percent of his tackle attempts. He hasn’t been particularly strong against the run and tends to struggle in coverage.
At the same time, Jenkins is a true story in unreached potential. He was drafted as the 14th pick overall in the 2009 draft. Coming out of Ohio State, he was touted as a dynamic playmaker, but that ability has yet to come to fruition.
The question ultimately is whether or not the book has already been written on Jenkins. Far too often we see players who have enormous potential, but for some reason they never materialize as studs in the NFL. That’s not to say that Jenkins can’t or won’t turn a corner in Philadelphia. But for now, the jury is still out on Jenkins.
Regardless of his on-the-field ability, it’s clear Jenkins will have fantasy value in his surroundings. We’ve seen Eagles safeties put up viable fantasy production in the past, and Jenkins now emerges as the favorite to carry that torch. At this point, it’s safe to target Jenkins in the DB3 range, though his ceiling reaches into DB2 territory.
In New Orleans, Jairus Byrd will be doing his thing at free safety, and Kenny Vaccaro will see plenty of time in the box. Vaccaro is still recovering from a fractured ankle, but he’s the obvious IDP choice of the two, provided his recovery goes well.
Editor's Note: Be sure to check out our new Mock and Companion Draft Tool! Utilizing our updated player projections, run a quick mock draft and see where this year's crop of free agents are coming off the board in early fantasy football drafts.
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.