Schwartz on Malcolm Jenkins: “Probably the Smartest Player I Ever Coached’
When the Eagles host the Saints this Sunday, a familiar face will be back on the field, roaming the secondary for New Orleans. Former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins will be making his return to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time since he signed a free agent deal with the Saints this offseason.
Jenkins inked a four-year, $32 million contract, which also included $16.25 million guaranteed after spending six seasons with the Eagles.
He was the clear leader of the Eagles defense, and wore many hats on the field. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz commented on Tuesday that he played seven different positions and knew all 11.
The versatile Jenkins regularly saw snaps as a linebacker, slot corner, strong safety and free safety during his tenure with the Eagles.
"He was a great set of eyes on the field for me," Schwartz explained. "Incredibly honest player. Always did his job."
Jenkins provided a little bit of everything for the Philadelphia defense, including covering tight ends, working in the slot, tackling up in the box, and roaming deep as a traditional safety.
"He was just that player that always did the right thing," Schwartz stated, "He was really good at weathering any storm. Always remained calm. He knew when to turn it up and when to give his fellow teammates confidence."
The 32-year old is having a solid year for the leagues top defense, with 62 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.
The Eagles opted to decline their option on Jenkins for the 2020 season, which was set to pay him $7.6 million in base salary. He threatened to hold out so the two sides parted ways, making Jenkins a free agent.
He now returns to Philadelphia with the 10-2 Saints, facing an Eagles team that is searching for leadership.
"He's probably the smartest player I ever coached," Schwartz explained. "Leadership-wise you take all those players, if he was on that he would probably be elected team captain."
The Eagles could sure use a guy like Jenkins around in 2020.
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