Malcolm Jenkins said on Monday that he will not return to the Eagles on his current deal, which is scheduled to pay him $7.6 million for one more year. He's looking to earn a new deal, probably somewhere closer to Earl Thomas's $13.75 million average. Meanwhile, Eagles GM Howie Roseman was quoted as saying he plans on infusing his team with youth. Jenkins is 32, the 5th oldest player on Philadelphia's roster.
The Cardinals have the 9th most cap space in the NFL, and the Eagles have the 12th least amount of cap space. Sounds like an opportunity.
Of course, that would require Steve Keim giving up a draft pick, something the Eagles covet as they try to rebuild on the fly. But, what pick would the Cardinals have to give away?
In September of 2019 the Steelers traded a first rounder (and swapped two more picks) to the Dolphins for Minkah Fitzpatrick. He's 23 years old, and widely regarded as a top 5 playmaker at the position.
In October of 2018, the Redskins traded a 4th round pick for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was 26, and had been selected to a pro bowl in 2016.
I imagine Jenkins' value would fall somewhere between those two players. He's better than Clinton-Dix, has a championship pedigree and the Eagles value him, but he's past his prime, and it's public knowledge that the Eagles want to get younger. So, maybe it costs a second or third.
Is a 32-year old safety worth a second round pick? I think so. It starts with building on a strength.
NFL defenses should be built like Monopoly boards. You don't buy one green property, one blue property, and one red property. You buy all the blues, put hotels on them and cash in, baby. Build your NFL defense the same way, build on strength. When you do that, every other position group looks better. Just ask the 49ers, who relentlessly added to their defensive line, capped off with Nick Bosa this year, until it was a dominant force. Their secondary isn't great, they lost their best middle linebacker mid season, but the defensive line puts so much pressure on quarterbacks, it doesn't matter.
The Cardinals have two impact players on defense: Outside linebacker Chandler Jones and safety Budda Baker. They have an opportunity to build on strength at the safety position with this trade. A player known for his savvy in Jenkins alongside a player known for his reckless abandon in Budda Baker sounds like the perfect combination to roam the middle of the field. He's also a veteran, two time Super Bowl champion who can help establish the new culture Kliff Kingsbury's trying to push and develop the two young Thompsons.
The Cardinals aren't as far away from defensive competence as it seems. Most NFL teams are just a few pieces away. The Cardinals need to address defensive line and add depth at cornerback as well. But it starts with one acquisition, and Jenkins would be a good jumping off point.