Johnathan Cyprien To Ink One-Year Deal With Eagles

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The battle for positions on the 2019 Eagles roster begun last week and we have heard quite a bit on how guys like Josh Sweat seem to be putting themselves up for roster spots while guys like DeSean Jackson have seemed unbeatable.

The Eagles have a late-comer, however, and it is not the recently signed Orlando Scandrick.

On Friday morning, Adam Schefter of ESPN broke the news that safety Johnathan Cyprien would be signing with the Eagles.

Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philly reports that the deal is pending a physical, so the deal is not yet official and no corresponding move has been made.

In his first four seasons in the league, Cyprien recorded 449 tackles, two sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 15 defensed passes and two interceptions. In his fifth and worst season, 2017, he recorded just 57 tackles, one defensed pass and a sack. He played just 10 games that due to injury.

He did not play in 2018 due to a torn ACL, which is why the pending physical is a big deal.

Cyprien has a skill set more suited for play at the line than in coverage, so it would be interesting to see how Jim Schwartz splits snaps between he and Malcolm Jenkins and which would play on the line more.

The Eagles learned last season that they can never have enough defensive backs and signing Cyprien is a no-risk move that could pay huge dividends for the team.

There could be three possible motivators for the signing other than simply adding competition.

One scenario is that Rodney McLeod and/or Blake Countess might not be healthy to start the season, though Countess should be. In this case, the Eagles have another player to compete for the two spots behind Malcolm Jenkins and Tre Sullivan.

Last season, the Eagles traded for Deiondre’ Hall. They kept him on the 53-man all season long, but he barely played despite all the injuries in the secondary. It could be that the team is not thrilled with what they’ve seen from Hall or undrafted rookie Delvon Randall and want to bring in more competition to breed the best player to make it past roster cuts.

The move might also simply be the Birds signing an excellent bounce-back candidate. After only one bad season and sitting out a year with injury, he could become a cheap but valuable piece.

This could combine with the team cutting veteran Andrew Sendejo and freeing up a fourth-round pick.

Sendejo is a good player, but either he or LJ Fort would need to go to free up that compensatory pick. Would Sendejo have more of an impact on the team as a third or fourth safety in 2019 than having a fourth-round pick playing on the team from 2020-2024?

The Eagles most recent late fourth-round pick was Avonte Maddox. Would you rather have that chance at Avonte Maddox on a rookie deal for four years or Sendejo on the current roster? Cyprien might make that question have an easy answer.

The Eagles now have six safeties vying for two, potentially three spots on the roster.

UPDATE: The Eagles have made the deal official and released safety Godwin Igwebuike to make room on the 90-man roster.