By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
While this might not seem like big news on the surface, the affects of the move could have significant impact on the make-up of the Eagles 53-man roster in 2019.
Just a few days ago, the Eagles claimed Blake Countess off waivers.
It was a solid move that the Eagles made to create competition for the third and fourth safety positions. While many thought that Andrew Sendejo's roster spot was safe following the move, a lot has changed since then.
The Eagles just made Countess' contract more affordable and closer to the value of Sendejo's. The team also added a year of control in 2020, meaning that they could have a young safety at an affordable price for the next two seasons rather than a veteran for just 2019.
Additionally, the compensatory pick deadline has passed. Free agents that are signed now no longer count against the compensatory pick formulas, so the Eagles fate can only change based upon them releasing a qualifying player or other teams releasing a qualifying player.
Here is where they stand now:
Eagles Compensatory Pick Chart
|QB Nick Foles||Jacksonville Jaguars||$22,000,000||3|
|WR Golden Tate||New York Giants||$9,350,000||4|
The only way the Eagles get a second fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2020 draft is the release of linebacker LJ Fort, who is under team control for up to three seasons, or Sendejo. If Jordan Matthews fails to make the 49ers, who drafted two receivers in the 2019 draft, the team would need to release both to get those fourth-round compensatory picks.
The question that the franchise will have to answer now is essentially this: Does having Andrew Sendejo as the fourth safety provide more to the team as an upgrade over Tre Sullivan or Blake Countess than a fourth-round pick?
If you'd like, you could think about it like a trade. Should the team essentially trade a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft for Sendejo to be the third or fourth safety?
That question will make one of the toughest competitions in training camp even more interesting as Sendejo will have to show a lot to prove he is worth the spot, but neither Tre Sullivan nor Countess is guaranteed a spot. Add in Temple UDFA Delvon Randall and the recently claimed Godwin Igwebuike, and that will be a fierce competition for just two, maybe three, spots.
For what it's worth, I projected that the Eagles would keep Tre Sullivan and Blake Countess around as the third and fourth safeties last week in my way-too-early 2019 Eagles roster and practice squad projections. This move, added to the reasons discussed in my way-too-early projections, only seems to further the likelihood of Countess playing a major role on this team in 2019 (and now 2020).