Eagles sign Reed Blankenship to contract extension: What it means for Philadelphia at safety position

Written by on April 1, 2024

The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t going to let Reed Blankenship enter the final year of his contract with an uncertain future, announcing a one-year contract extension with the starting safety that will keep him with the team until the 2025 season. 

Blankenship will make $3.935 million in fully guaranteed money over the next two years, per NFL Network, a massive pay raise from the $985,000 in base salary he would have made in 2024. The former undrafted free agent finished the 2023 season with 113 tackles, 11 passes defended and three interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks targeting Blankenship completed 68.6% of their passes and had six touchdowns against him with a 86.5 passer rating. 

At just 25 years old, Blankenship is locked into Philadelphia for the next two seasons. He’ll have guaranteed money through his restricted free agent year of 2025, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2026. Blankenship had the second-most performance-based pay in the NFL at $923,059 for the 2023, which was announced earlier Monday, making April 1 a banner day for Blankenship financially. 

What this means for Eagles at safety

The Eagles have Blankenship and C.J. Gardner-Johnson signed for multiple seasons, having their top two safeties under contract until at least the 2025 season. Whether Blankenship starts or not, he and Gardner-Johnson will be part of Vic Fangio’s defense for 2024 and beyond.

Sydney Brown also is in the mix at safety once he recovers from the ACL injury he suffered in Week 18 of last season. The Eagles are targeting a return for Brown at some point early in the 2024 season, as he will be rehabbing throughout minicamp and training camp. 

Mekhi Garner and Tristin McCollum are also in the mix at safety, as both players will compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

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Where do Eagles go from here?

Philadelphia doesn’t save any money toward the salary cap for 2024 by signing Blankenship, just taking away his restricted free agent season in 2025. The Eagles still have $31.84 million in available salary cap space (per Over The Cap), so they could make another move to improve the safety position in free agency if they so choose. 

Blankenship gets a bump in pay, but he’s not guaranteed a starting safety spot. The Eagles would like to improve a secondary that allowed a 97.6 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks last season (29th in NFL) and 35 passing touchdowns (31st in NFL). Philadelphia signed Gardner-Johnson to a three-year deal to fill one of the safety slots and Tyler Hall at slot cornerback, while releasing Avonte Maddox (although there is a possibility Maddox could return). 

The Eagles still have salary cap space available to improve at safety, even if Blankenship is signed through 2025. 

Which safeties are available?

Justin Simmons is the best free agent safety left, and has a history with Fangio based on his time with the Denver Broncos. Simmons had 14 interceptions and earned two Second Team All-Pro selections during Fangio’s three seasons in Denver, having a 48.1 passer rating when opposing quarterbacks targeted him in that span. 

Simmons and Gardner-Johnson would be a complete revamp at safety, with Blankenship as the No. 3 safety and Brown used in sub-packages. This if the Eagles chose to pursue a starting safety, especially to improve a secondary after the front office dealt pass rusher Haason Reddick and impacted the defense last week. 

Jamal Adams, Eddie Jackson (who has also played under Fangio), Quandre Diggs, Micah Hyde, Tracy Walker, Jayron Kearse, Tashaun Gipson and Julian Blackmon are the other top safeties available. The safety market is deep, so the Eagles don’t have to rush into making a move. 

This is why taking care of Blankenship was beneficial for 2024 and beyond. 

The post Eagles sign Reed Blankenship to contract extension: What it means for Philadelphia at safety position first appeared on CBS Sports.


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