The Eagles activated Mills (undisclosed) from the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, according to the league's official transaction report. Mills missed Philadelphia's regular-season finale against Washington in Week 17 due to the timing of his placement on the COVID-19 list. The 26-year-old cornerback is now eligible to return to all team facilities, but considering that he's set to hit free agency this offseason, Mills' time with the Eagles may already essentially be up.
The Eagles placed Mills (undisclosed) on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday. Mills missed Thursday's practice due to an illness, but it remains uncertain whether he's tested positive for COVID-19 or only been deemed a close contact of someone who has. Even if Mills is deemed a close contact, he'd need to spend at least five days on the COVID list, which would rule him out for Sunday's regular-season finale against Washington. Marcus Epps and Rudy Ford will likely handle increased roles in his stead.
The Eagles likely will use Mills in a hybrid role similar to the one Malcolm Jenkins handled in past seasons, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Zangaro points to a Week 11 game against New England as evidence Mills can be more than just an outside cover corner. His stellar performance in that contest may have contributed to the Eagles' decision to let Jenkins leave for New Orleans in free agency, with Mills representing a cheaper alternative for the hybrid safety/slot role. That's not to say there won't be any drop off, but Mills has an opportunity to approach Jenkins' IDP production from six seasons in Philadelphia -- averages of 85.8 tackles, 9.7 pass breakups, 2.0 forced fumbles, 1.8 interceptions and 1.0 fumble recovery per year. Of course, Jenkins started all 16 games in each of those seasons, while Mills missed 15 contests over the past two years alone.
Mills and the Eagles agreed to terms on a one-year contract Tuesday, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports. The 25-year-old will return to the Eagles after injuries limited him to just nine games in 2019 and a career-low 41 tackles (29 solo), along with an interception and seven pass breakups. Mills has been inconsistent in coverage during his tenure in Philly, so as Mike Kaye of NJ.com suggests, a move to safety could be in the cards for the 2016 seventh-round pick -- giving the Eagles a potential in-house replacement for free agent Malcolm Jenkins.
Mills recorded 41 tackles (29 solo), an interception and seven pass breakups in nine games during the 2019 season. All of the above numbers represent career-lows for Mills except for the interceptions and games-played totals, each of which is just one fewer. The 25-year-old missed the first six weeks of the season recovering from a foot sprain and also dealt with elbow and ankle injuries during the season. He heads into the offseason due to become an unrestricted free agent.
|* indicates player did not play that week|