Despite the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, there’s still plenty of action happening throughout the league. It just so happens many of those moves that occurred today impact the Eagles, potentially helping — and hurting — them.
Tyrann Mathieu Signs With Saints
If you were hoping for safety reinforcements, you’re going to be disappointed. After not addressing the position at all during the draft — with the team passing on potential starter Kyle Hamilton — Philadelphia saw free agent Tyrann Mathieu sign with New Orleans on a three-year, $33 million deal, pending finalization.
Mathieu, 29, is a three-time Pro-Bowl and All-Pro who put up 76 tackles last year along with three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Mathieu had a PFF grade of 66.8 (38 out of 94) in 2021, allowing a completion percentage of 69.2% (up from 62.7% in 2020) and a passer rating of 88.1 (up from 60.2).
Despite the statistical bumps in coverage, Mathieu was still a solid veteran to be had, especially at this point in the offseason. The Eagles’ interest in Mathieu is well documented, with the team having talked to him in a virtual meeting in early April.
Ultimately, Philadelphia never became aggressive in their pursuits of Mathieu, which begs the question of if they were ever truly in the hunt, or if Mathieu’s interest in Philadelphia was to just drive up Nola’s price.
The Eagles will play the Saints at home this year, so perhaps A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith can make the Honey Badger regret his choice. There’s still the matter of the safety unit: Right now, Marcus Epps and Anthony Harris are the starters, with K’Von Wallace, Jared Mayden, and Andre Chachere backing them up. Reaaaally not ideal, and if that position isn’t improved somehow before the season, it could be a severe weak point.
DeAndre Hopkins Suspended For Six Games
In other news, Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been suspended six games for violating the league’s PED policy. Hopkins withdrew his appeal, which means the suspension will stick.
Hopkins, 29, has always been a dangerous receiver, though he’s become unreliable of late. In just 10 games last season, Hopkins put up 572 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games. In three career games against the Birds, Hopkins has 24 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns. That’s 129 yards a game.
Those numbers become all the more relevant when remembering the Eagles are set to take on the Cardinals this season, though when that happens is still up in the air. If the game is within the first six weeks of the season, the Eagles will have one less superstar to worry about.
If not, well, prepare to probably see another 100-yard game. While the NFL will officially reveal the 2022 schedule on May 12th at 8 p.m. ET, Philadelphia could know when they’re playing Arizona as soon as Thursday.
Why? That’s because international games are set to be unveiled on May 4th, and the Cardinals have one of their home games in Mexico City. The Eagles are one of Arizona’s nine home opponents, so there’s a chance the team could be flying down to Mexico for the first time since 1978.
A.J. Brown Chooses His Number
Not exactly something in the “league-wide news” category, but a fun one nonetheless: the newest Philly receiver has finally chosen his number. A.J. Brown is set to tout #11. The news was revealed during his introductory press conference Monday afternoon.
It’s not exactly a surprising selection, since that was the number Brown wore with Tennessee since his debut in 2019. Of course, Brown did have to steal it from Zach Pascal, who picked the number out when he signed with Philadelphia earlier this offseason. Pascal will now be rocking #3 as announced on Twitter:
— Zach Pascal (@ZachPascal6) May 2, 2022
#11 has a long history with the Eagles, with it being most recently worn by Carson Wentz from 2016 to 2020. Before that, Chip Kelly-favorite Josh Huff had it in 2014, while Trent Edwards wore it in 2012. Bobby Thomason and Tommy Thompson hold the record for the most consecutive years of #11 with five (must be the Thom effect), so that’s the number for Brown to beat.