The new league year began on March 17, and though checkbooks may be steep for some teams, Philadelphia isn’t one of them.
With one of the worst salary cap debts going into 2021, the Eagles are now looking for cheap roster additions. Last Friday, Philadelphia not only found a low-cost player but a high-quality one at that. Former Minnesota Vikings safety Anthony Harris signed a one-year contract with the team. The deal is worth $5 million.
HARRIS’ PRE-EAGLES ERA
Finishing a collegiate career at the University of Virginia, Anthony Harris remained undrafted in 2015 before signing with the Minnesota Vikings. He was promoted to the active roster late in the regular season after recovering from a shoulder injury (likely why he wasn’t drafted).
He played as backup safety to Harrison Smith and re-signed with the Vikings in 2018, which commenced his breakout stint. Harris finished the season with 46 combined tackles and three interceptions, ranking as fifth out of 100 safeties by Pro Football Focus.
In 2019, his rank increased to second out of 98 safeties. He recorded 60 total tackles, six interceptions, and 11 defended passes. He also became the leader in Vikings’ defense with 18.9 allowed points per game, ranking fifth-best in the NFL.
Minnesota’s defense struggled as a whole last season. Though weaker (ranking 38th out of 99), Harris continued his trend, recording a career-best 104 tackles. He played under the Vikings franchise tag in 2020, becoming available this season as Pro Football Focus’ second-best free agent.
A QUALITY DEAL
Though general manager Howie Roseman catches heat for his roster moves, adding Harris to Philadelphia’s lineup should provide Roseman with a bit of slack… at least for the time being.
Last week, Roseman stated, “We’re looking for guys that we think fit our scheme, that we think fit our culture, and we think have an opportunity to be here as we kind of build this thing back. If there’s an opportunity to improve our team, we’re going to look at that. We’re continuing to do that. I would say if the fit’s right, we’ll do it.”
Well, the Philadelphia Eagles found the right fit. The team signed Anthony Harris last Friday, March 19. This comes one day after they signed their first free agent of 2021 — another safety, Andrew Adams.
Harris will now re-join Rodney McLeod. The two safeties played together in Virginia. Better yet, he reunites with Philadelphia’s newest defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Gannon served the Vikings for three of Harris’ seasons.
The 29-year-old will likely gain a significant amount of playing time as a starter. Last week, the Eagles lost Jalen Mills to the New England Patriots, and McLeod remains questionable after suffering a knee injury last season.