The Eagles placed starting safety Rodney McLeod on Injured Reserve with a knee injury and signed practice squad wide receiver DeAndre Carter back to the 53-man roster.
McLeod underwent season-ending knee surgery earlier this week after getting hurt during the Eagles’ win over the Colts at the Linc Sunday.
Carter initially made the Eagles’ roster out of training camp and caught a 10-yard pass in the opener against the Falcons before being released on Sept. 18 and then signed to the practice squad on Sept. 20. Carter played 53 snaps against the Falcons but only 19 against the Buccaneers.
Carter, 25, is a first-year pro who’s been released by the Ravens, Raiders, Patriots, 49ers and Eagles.
With McLeod on IR, the Eagles have only three safeties on the 53-man roster — Malcolm Jenkins, Graham and recent acquisition Deiondre’ Hall, who hasn’t played any snaps on defense.
There was speculation that the Eagles could promote safety Tre Sullivan, who started the year on the active roster, from the practice squad, but it appears now that they’ll go into Sunday’s game against the Titans in Nashville with only three safeties on the roster.
Cornerback Rasul Douglas is a candidate to serve as an emergency safety or third safety in the Eagles’ three-corner, three-safety big nickel package.
With Carter back on the 53, the Eagles have six receivers on the roster — Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery, Shelton Gibson, Jordan Matthews, Kamar Aiken and Carter. Of that group, only Agholor has played receiver in all three games so far this year.
The NFL’s new Injured Reserve rules allow teams to activate up to two players per year off IR after at least eight weeks, but McLeod does not appear to be a candidate for that.
The Eagles currently have tight end Richard Rodgers and wide receivers Mack Hollins and Mike Wallace also on Injured Reserve and eligible to return later in the season.
McLeod, 28, had missed only two games in six previous NFL seasons. He had three interceptions in each of his first two seasons with the Eagles after spending his first four seasons with the Rams.
Here’s veteran safety Corey Graham on losing McLeod:
“When guys got open, when guys were uncovered, Rod was always the guy to get them down, to fix it if somebody messed up.
“Any time you lose a guy like Rod it’s a tough loss. He’s one of our core guys, one of the guys who gets a lot done for us.
“He’s a smart guy on the back end, he makes a lot of plays for us. It’s hard to replace a guy like Rod. … It’s going to be tough for us.”
Because of his contract, there’s a chance McLeod has played his final games as an Eagle.
McLeod is due $7.5 million in base salary in 2019 and $8.5 million in 2020 with cap figures of $9.91 million and $10.91 million in each of the next two seasons.
If the Eagles release McLeod after this season, he would count about $4.8 million against the cap in 2019 and $2.4 million in 2020 but save the Eagles about $13.5 million under the cap.