Philadelphia Eagles' 2020 NFL free-agent signings: Jalen Mills has big shoes to fill

Eagles not picking up 2020 option on Jenkins (0:54)

Field Yates and Mike Tannenbaum analyze the Eagles' decision not to pick up Malcolm Jenkins' option, which makes him a free agent. (0:54)

NFL free agency is off and running, and we're keeping track of every major signing, trade and release of the 2020 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from Bill Barnwell. The new league year begins March 18 at 4 p.m. ET, which means free-agent signings can be made official after that. The first round of the 2020 NFL draft begins April 23.

Here's a breakdown of every 2020 NFL free-agent signing by the Philadelphia Eagles and how each will impact the upcoming season:

Jalen Mills, defensive back

Mills has agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $5 million to return to the Eagles.

What it means: Mills is expected to transition to safety, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. This news comes on the same day the team announced that they would not pick up Malcolm Jenkins' club option for 2020, making him a free agent. There are drastic changes being made to the secondary, and Mills is going to be one of the men assigned with filling the enormous vacancy left by Jenkins. The Eagles also remain in the market for multiple cornerbacks with Mills switching positions and fellow starting corner Ronald Darby a pending free agent.

What's the risk: Mills hasn't played safety at this level, so it remains to be seen how this experiment will go. But defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is a big fan of Mills' hard-nosed style of play, solid tackling and unflappable confidence, all of which should come in handy in his new role. Mills' biggest weakness was recovery speed, and he'll have to worry about that less now.

Rodney McLeod, safety

The Eagles have agreed to terms on two-year deal with McLeod, who has spent the past four seasons with Philadelphia.

What it means: The Eagles' safety picture is coming into focus. They are moving on from Malcolm Jenkins, will train cornerback Jalen Mills at safety and are bringing back McLeod, who rebounded nicely in 2019 following season-ending knee surgery the season prior. He played the majority of his snaps as the deep safety when paired with Jenkins but proved to be versatile. His role could expand further now and he'll be called on to step up his leadership and production in Jenkins' absence.

What's the risk: The two-year deal limits the risk as it applies specifically to the 29-year-old McLeod, who should be able to play at a high level through the contract. The unknown is whether he and Mills -- or whomever the other starting safety ends up being -- can sustain the high level of consistent play the Eagles enjoyed from the back end during Jenkins' six-year run.

Nate Sudfeld, quarterback

The Eagles have agreed to terms with Sudfeld on a one-year contract.

What it means: The Eagles maintain continuity in the quarterback room by bringing back Sudfeld, who is close with Carson Wentz and knows the system well. Sudfeld had a chance to capture the No. 2 role last season before suffering a broken left wrist in the preseason. Once that injury happened, they went with Josh McCown. Sudfeld, who has been with the team since 2017, had some interest elsewhere but decided to return to Philadelphia to give it another go.

What's the risk: Sudfeld has thrown 25 passes in the NFL and therefore remains a bit of an unknown. If Wentz goes down, can the Eagles be confident Sudfeld can hold down the fort? There's always a chance the Eagles bring in another veteran before the season begins. McCown is in the midst of a six-month recovery from a torn hamstring. He hasn't committed to continuing his playing career yet but could be an option.

Javon Hargrave, defensive tackle

The Eagles have agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with Hargrave, who has played for the Steelers since 2016.

What it means: The Eagles have a crazy-talented defensive tackle trio now in Hargrave, Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson. Hargrave, 27, fits the free-agent profile the Eagles are looking for -- someone in their prime that can be a part of the core group for the next several years.

What's the risk: The Eagles have more glaring needs than defensive tackle, and there's the question of how defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will distribute the snaps among the DTs. Jackson can line up outside some, which should help, but it's to be seen how the puzzle pieces fit together. Ideally, they would have used these resources on an edge rusher, though quality defensive ends are harder to come by. Hargrave played nose tackle in Pittsburgh's 3-4 scheme. He'll have to adjust to Philadelphia's 4-3 scheme.

Hassan Ridgeway, defensive tackle

The Eagles re-sign Ridgeway to a one-year deal.

What it means: Ridgeway, acquired from the Indianapolis Colts in a trade last April, returns to provide depth along the interior. He was a regular part of the defensive line rotation in 2019 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in October, finishing with four tackles for loss and four QB hits in seven games. Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson are the headliners, but Ridgeway, 25, will be a part of the equation.

What's the risk: Ridgeway dealt with multiple injuries last season, but there is little risk involved given that it's a one-year deal. He has already shown the Eagles he's a fit for the system and the locker room.

Jatavis Brown, linebacker

Brown is signing with the Eagles on a one-year deal, per Adam Schefter.

What it means: The Eagles add some competition to a linebacker group that definitely needs some help. Brown, 26, is a former fifth-round pick of the Chargers who started 23 games in four seasons. He'll have a chance to compete for playing time on a defense that has invested lightly in the position and recently parted with Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill. He played 50 percent of the Chargers' special-teams snaps last year and should help in that department as well.

What's the risk: The risk doesn't lie so much in Brown, but rather the team's philosophy of not investing much in linebackers. Part of the reason is because the Eagles, like most teams in the modern NFL, are in sub-packages most of the time, meaning there are typically only two linebackers on the field. Still, Philly will need to find production from a group that currently includes Brown, Nate Gerry, Duke Riley, T.J. Edwards and Alex Singleton.

Will Parks, safety

Parks, a former Bronco, reached agreement on a one-year deal, a source told Adam Schefter.

What it means: The Eagles add a versatile piece to a defensive secondary in the midst of a big transition. Parks, 25, has played both corner and safety in the NFL, offering defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz the type of hybrid player he gravitates toward. He started seven games at safety last season for Denver and finished with an interception and 35 tackles.

What's the risk: With Rodney McLeod back in the fold and the Eagles cross-training Jalen Mills at safety, it's not quite clear how Parks fits into the picture. But it at least gives Schwartz some options as he figures this new-look secondary out. And it should allow him to utilize the three-safety sub-package that he seems to like more.

Nickell Robey-Coleman, cornerback

Robey-Coleman, a former Ram, reached agreement on a one-year deal, a source told Josina Anderson.

What it means: The overhaul in the secondary continues. Robey-Coleman, who is best known for his no-call pass interference in the 2019 NFC Championship Game while with the Rams, is a starting-caliber DB who will compete for the nickel corner spot. He had seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles and three tackles for loss this past season. Robey-Coleman, 28, is the third new piece added to the defensive backfield this season along with cornerback Darius Slay and DB Will Parks.

What's the risk: The Eagles already have some decent slot corner options in Cre'Von LeBlanc and Avonte Maddox. What they really need is an outside corner to solidify the post opposite Slay. Maddox, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas are among the current options. Robey-Coleman has one interception over the past two years combined.