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Eagles Stay or Go — Two key DBs and a fringe DE

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Rodney McLeod
Roob: McLeod is a solid complement to Malcolm Jenkins and is one of the few guys on defense who actually made big plays in the Super Bowl. He had two third-down tackles that probably saved touchdowns. McLeod's cap hits are sizable moving forward — $8.406 million this year, $9.906 million next year and $10.906 million in 2020. They could in theory save close to $3 million in cap space by releasing him, but I think he's too valuable. It's not like there's a stable of young safeties, unless the Eagles start converting part of their young corner surplus. He had a bit of a tackling problem for a couple weeks but for the most part McLeod is a solid, valuable piece.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: When the Eagles signed McLeod, I thought he had Pro Bowl potential. Well, he hasn't been that good, but he did put together another really solid 2017 season and he seems to really mesh well with Jenkins. Having McLeod gives the Eagles the freedom to move Jenkins around to nickel corner and even up in the box like a linebacker sometimes. McLeod has three years left under contract and he's still playing at a solid level. 

Verdict: STAYS

Steven Means
Roob:
Means is an interesting guy. Whenever he plays, he seems to make an impact. On this defense, however, he rarely plays. Means doesn't play a whole lot of special teams, but he comes cheap, he's a smart guy, good locker room guy, only 27 years old. As long as Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Derek Barnett are here, there won't be many snaps for a fourth defensive end. But I'm not sure you're going to find a better one with a cap figure under $1 million.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: There might not be a more well-liked teammate in the Eagles' locker room than Means. He's not supremely talented but he can play a little bit. Every time he gets chances, he makes the most of them. Now, even after the Eagles extended him through the 2018 season, there's no guarantee he makes the team. We'll see who else the Eagles add. But Means should have a chance to earn back his spot for another year. I think he gets it done. 

Verdict: STAYS

Jalen Mills
Roob:
In the span of 18 months, Mills transformed from a rookie late-round pick scrambling to stick on the 53-man roster to a guy starring at Super Bowl media day singing Ricky Martin songs for a battery of TV cameras. The bottom line is that Mills has never backed down, either as a rookie who was often overmatched in 1-on-1 matchups or a much-improved second-year pro who thrived on covering the opposing team's best receiver. Mills, 23, is the youngest cornerback to start for a Super Bowl winner since Tracy Porter with the Saints in 2009. He's going to get only better.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: From the moment Mills was drafted in the seventh round, there have been a bunch of people who have said he isn't fast enough or good enough to be a starter in the NFL. He's been proving them wrong. And in 2017, his play began to catch up with his confidence. Who knows how he fits into the team's long-term plans, but it would be hard to take him off the field right now. 

Verdict: STAYS