Santoliquito: Keeping Malcolm Jenkins Was Smart

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) —Howie Roseman did a number of good things last week. The Eagles executive vice president of football operations addressed the Eagles’ wide receiver need by signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. He beefed up the offensive line by getting guard Chance Warmack.

Related: Howie Roseman: Alshon Jeffery’s One-Year Deal Is A ‘Win-Win’

But perhaps the best move Roseman made last week in keeping the Eagles moving forward was the move that he didn’t make—trading away veteran safety and team leader Malcolm Jenkins.

Related: Eagles Offered Malcolm Jenkins And 2 Picks For Brandin Cooks, Report Says

According to a report, Jenkins was part of a proposed trade package — which also included the Eagles’ third and fourth-round picks — to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks was eventually traded to the world champion New England Patriots for their first and third-round picks, in exchange for Cooks and the Saints’ fourth-rounder.

It was good the Jenkins deal didn’t go down.

It wouldn’t have fared well for the Eagles to lose Jenkins, who in three years with the Eagles has been a stalwart on and off the field. The 29-year-old, eight-year veteran seems to be getting better with age. In 2016, he had a career season for the Eagles with personal-bests in interceptions (3) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (2). He was fourth on the Eagles in tackles (72) and recovered a fumble. He can play either safety positions, and last year played slot corner on occasion.

Related: Malcolm Jenkins Holding Third Annual Blitz, Bow Ties And Bourbon

Off the field, Jenkins has been a confidante to younger players on the team and a conduit to the media. He’s the kind of leader that commands the respect of teammates and who players rally around.

Defensively, the Eagles have lost defensive end Connor Barwin and defensive tackle Bennie Logan. They also lost both starting cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin (cut) and Nolan Carroll (signed with Dallas as a free agent), which isn’t that great of a loss. It appears linebacker Mychal Kendricks may be out the door, leaving defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, linebacker Jordan Hicks and Jenkins as the only reliable players back on defense.

Related: Connor Barwin: ‘Thank You Philly From Bottom Of My Heart’

It’s why it makes even further sense that the Eagles kept Jenkins, who started his career and won a Super Bowl with the Saints. It was New Orleans that allowed Jenkins to walk and sign with the Eagles in 2014, while the Saints signed high-end free agent Jarius Byrd, who the Saints released last week. Byrd suffered a torn lateral meniscus knee ligament during practice on October 2, 2014. The next day, the team placed Byrd on season-ending injured reserve.

Jenkins has been a consistent fixture in the Eagles’ defense since he arrived. Think the Saints don’t wish they kept Malcolm Jenkins now?

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