Philadelphia Eagles: Goodbye Chris Maragos, you will be missed

Though he missed the entirety of the 2018 season, Chris Maragos’ contributions to the Philadelphia Eagles should be lauded as his tenure comes to a close.

The Chris Maragos-era of Philadelphia Eagles‘ history is officially over.

That’s right, after missing the entirety of the 2018 season with a PCL injury that landed him on a season-long trip to IR, Howie Roseman and company have released Maragos from the final year of his contract, freeing up $1.925 million going into 2019.

On the surface, this isn’t that big of a deal, as the Kamu Grugier-Hill has all but replaced Maragos as Dave Fipp‘s four core special teams ace and served as a captain in 2018, but after seeing number 42 run up and down the field game after game for the better part of four years, it’s going to be tough to see him go.

A remnant of the pre-Doug Pederson-era, Maragos was a member of Chip Kelly‘s first true free agent class, bringing some Super Bowl pedigree to the Birds’ special teams unit going into 2014.

And really, Maragos didn’t disappoint.

Though he nary saw the field at safety, logging only 389 defensive snaps between 2014-17 at his technical position, Maragos was a beast on special teams, logging 1302 snaps over 53 games, easily the highest total of any player on the team.

Sure, he only recorded 29 tackles and a forced fumble over 53 games (three starts), but Maragos played at a borderline Pro Bowl level and likely would have earned a spot had the Eagles been more relevant during his early tenure with the team.

Now I know what you’re thinking: How can a player who averaged a little more than half a tackle a game be considered a fringe Pro Bowler?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Between 2014-16, Maragos averaged 10.67 special teams tackles a season. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, less than a dozen players accomplished said feat over the same time frame, making Maragos a pretty rare commodity that teams around the league were hungry to acquire, especially at an average salary of less than $3 million a year.

Maragos’ presence helped the Eagles win the field position battle due to his ability to quite literally fly down the field and brick wall returners in their tracks.

Additionally, Maragos was also invaluable as a sort of coach on the field, as he helped to nurture some of the best special teamers in the league like Trey Burton, Corey Clement, and Grugier-Hill over his five years with the organization. His role as a calming presence helped to transform the Eagles’ special teams unit from the 19th in Rick Gosselin’s 2013 Special Teams Rankings to the best unit in the league the very next year.

And through it all, Maragos was able to bookend his career with a second Super Bowl ring, even if he was hurt during the actual game.

Next: The Philadelphia Eagles are set on special teams for the first time in years

So goodbye Chris Maragos. Though you never rose up the ranks and became a Philly Folk Hero in the same way that other special teamers like David Akers, Jon Dorenbos, or even Burton did, you will forever be remembered fondly by hardcore fans for helping to transform the Philadelphia Eagles’ special teams unit from below average to elite.

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