If the Philadelphia Eagles pursue safety Kenny Phillips in free agency, they might be able to thank LeSean McCoy for making it possible. If you don’t recall, it was McCoy who put a juke on Phillips in Week 4 of 2012 that caused him to twist his knee and do some damage to his MCL and PCL.
That play knocked Phillips out of the game and basically turned the 2012 season into a lost season for him. He returned in Week 12 but re-aggravated his injury the following week and didn’t return again until Week 17. This was Phillips’ second season in his five-year career that was cut short by an injury.
Here’s a snapshot of the McCoy-induced knee buckle…
Because of that, it’s quite possible that the Giants will not even try to re-sign him. In 2009, Phillips was placed on IR after needing micro-fracture surgery on his left knee due to a condition called “patellofemoral arthritis.”
So, why should the Eagles be interested in a guy with such an injury history and who McCoy made look like a fool? Well, to be fair, McCoy makes a lot of defenders look like fools, so read on…
Phillips returned to play full seasons in 2010 and 2011 before suffering damage to his MCL and PCL in his right knee last season. That makes two significant injuries, one to each knee. The good thing is that he did not need surgery as a result of his last injury.
However, that could still be enough to make a team sour on a player with that kind injury history.
Secondary is such a ginormous need (it’s such a need that I had to resort to a child’s word) for this Eagles team that they will almost assuredly be looking at all available free agent safeties (and corners), no matter what their issues might be.
With that said, Pro Football Focus actually has Phillips listed as their third-ranked available free agent safety (behind William Moore and Dashon Goldson).
This is because when he returned from his knee injury in 2010, he ended up as their seventh-ranked safety in the NFL. He followed up in 2011 as their sixth-ranked player at his position and started out strong in 2012 before his injury.
For his career, he has 263 tackles, eight INTs and 26 passes defensed. He also has 63 career “stops”, which is what PFF describes as “solo tackles which constitute an offensive failure.”
Also per PFF, in 62 career games he’s been targeted 116 times and given up 63 catches and five touchdowns. That’s basically an average of giving up one catch per game a one touchdown every 12 games, which isn’t shabby.
Phillips is still young (will turn 27 in November) and has nice size at 6’ 2” 217 lbs. He was a true center-fielder in New York and it’s unclear what kind of fit he would be in Bill Davis’ defense.
However, regardless of “fit”, as a player he is worlds better than anything we have on the roster. Unfortunately, that’s not a huge compliment though.
Whether it’s Phillips, a different safety or a quality cornerback, the Eagles almost have to address the secondary in free agency. However, we really can’t expect them to go crazy in free agency.
There have been rumors of the Eagles being interested in CB Sean Smith and S Rashad Johnson. That makes sense in terms of money…Smith would be the “prize” and surefire starter while Johnson would be depth and compete for a starting spot.
If the rumor about Smith turns out to be true, we can forget about safeties Dashon Goldson or William Moore. However, Phillips could still be a possibility if…and yes, it’s a big if…teams view him as an injury risk because of his history.
He might have to settle for one of those “one year and prove it” deals like LaRon Landry did with the Jets last season. And because he could possibly come as a bargain, he could find himself on the Eagles’ radar.