Eagles Re-Work Deal with Rodney McLeod
(973espn.com) - The Eagles have restructured the contract of Rodney McLeod, presumably ensuring the veteran safety will be back playing the center-field role in Jim Schwartz's single-high heavy defense.
McLeod's 2018 season was cut short after a significant knee injury suffered in Week 3 against Indianapolis which required season-ending ACL surgery. His presence was missed as Schwartz cobbled things together for the rest of the season using Corey Graham, rookie Avonte Maddox, and first-year player Tre Sullivan at times.
While under contract through 2020 McLeod had a looming 2019 salary-cap number of $9.9 million and many speculated he could be a cap casualty if nothing was worked out.
The new deal is a team-friendly one which drops McLeod's 2019 base salary from $7.5M to $1.5M and saves the Eagles' nearly $7.5M in cap space. His base salary will now be $3M next season and he can add another $1M to that if McLeod plays in all 16 games. In return McLeod will now be a free agent in 2020 so if he bounces back to his original form, a pay day should be waiting.
"It was rough," McLeod told the Eagles' official website when discussing his star-crossed Super Bowl-sequel season. "It was probably one of my hardest years honestly physically, more so mentally, being involved in the game and not being able to play and be able to reflect now on the season with my teammates."
With McLeod back to pair with Malcolm Jenkins, the safety positions seem set for next season and Maddox will likely move back to cornerback full-time where he will compete on both the outside and the slot.
“It's a very exciting time,” McLeod said. “Honestly, Philly is where I want to be. I'm glad we were able to get things done and handled early on. I really get to focus more on rehab and getting back out there with the boys and getting back to making plays for the team this year.”
McLeod originally signed with the Eagles as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2016 season after playing his first four NFL seasons in St. Louis with the Rams.
“I feel good,” McLeod said. “The whole rehab process is right on pace. That's a credit to the trainers and myself as well for taking every day seriously. I'm looking forward to the day when I get back out there on the field and feel great.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen