Jalen Mills, who made one of the biggest defensive plays of the Eagles’ 2017 postseason run, has agreed to a blockbuster multi-year deal with the Patriots.
The deal is worth $24 million over four years with $9 million guaranteed, Mills' agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the deal.
The guaranteed portion of the contract is more than Mills earned in five years with the Eagles.
The loss of Mills, the Eagles’ most prominent unrestricted free agent, will most likely bring the Eagles a compensatory pick in the 2022 draft, although that depends what the Eagles do in free agency.
Mills, the Eagles’ 7th-round pick in 2016, started 49 games for the Eagles over the last five years, most at corner, although he played mainly at safety this past year. He started more games at corner for the Eagles over the last decade than anyone else. Cary Williams is second at 32.
Mills, 26, earned about $4.1 million on his rookie contract with the Eagles and $4 million on a one-year deal last year.
It’s not clear yet whether Bill Belichick likes Mills as a corner or a safety, but Mills did play well at several positions including safety during a 2019 game against the Patriots.
Mills became a full-time starter in 2017, when he had his best season, with three interceptions, including a pick-6 off C.J. Beathard in a win over the 49ers. He and Ronald Darby both played very well during the Super Bowl run, and it was Mills who defended Julio Jones in the end zone on the final play of the Eagles’ conference semifinal win over the Falcons, which propelled them into the NFC Championship Game.
Mills missed 15 games over the next two years with injuries but returned last year and started 15 games, moving to safety after the Eagles let Malcolm Jenkins walk.
In all, Mills had five interceptions with the Eagles but just two in his last 42 games.
Eagles safety Rodney McLeod paid tribute to Mills on Twitter and wished his now-former teammate well:
The loss of Mills leaves the Eagles very thin at safety. McLeod is coming off an ACL tear and the only other safeties on the roster are K’Von Wallace, Marcus Epps and Grayland Arnold.
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