The Eagles are apparently all-in on having the NFL's priciest safety duo
McLeod marks Philly's first free agent splurge after offloading salary on Tuesday.
After spending much of the day Tuesday offloading salary in the form of DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell, and Kiko Alonso, the Philadelphia Eagles shelled out some cash on Wednesday afternoon. According to multiple reports, the Eagles will sign former Rams safety Rodney McLeod to a five-year deal worth $37 million. The contract reportedly contains $17 million in guarantees.
Per Spotrac, the $37 million owed to McLeod makes him the fourth-highest paid safety in football, just ahead of new teammate Malcolm Jenkins, who signed a $35 million extension last month. The reported $7.4 million average annual value of McLeod's deal ranks sixth among safeties while the $17 million guarantee ranks fifth. He and Jenkins now form the highest-paid safety duo in the NFL, while his arrival likely means the departure of converted cornerback Walter Thurmond, who played safety next to Jenkins for last year's Eagles squad.
After going undrafted in 2012 out of the University of Virginia, McLeod signed with the Rams and has been with them ever since. He has not missed a game in his four NFL seasons and he has started each of the last 48 (i.e. the last three full years). In that time, he has 232 combined tackles and five interceptions, and he ranked 12th among safeties in Pro-Football-Reference's Approximate Value, an attempt to measure every player-season since 1950 with a single number.
With McLeod's departure, the Rams have now lost half their starting defensive backfield from last season. Earlier on Wednesday, cornerback Janoris Jenkins signed a five-year, $62 million contract with the New York Giants.
McLeod was not ranked among Pete Prisco's top 50 available free agents this offseason, but he is a good, young player likely still a year or two away from his prime (he won't turn 26 until this June). Here's what an NFC West scout told The Phildelphia Inquirer's Jeff McClane about McLeod:
Evaluation of Rodney McLeod from NFC West senior scout: pic.twitter.com/PC1nTYZkoj— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) March 9, 2016
The scout also added that McLeod is "tough as sh*t," which is an awesome thing to be when you're a person that hits other people for a living.
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And no, this has nothing to do with fans being too tough