Philadelphia Eagles: Tre Boston wants a seat at the table

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

‘The Philadelphia Eagles have the best defensive secondary in the NFC East.’

At one time, this statement would have been met with gasps, groans, and more than a few laughs, but after committing $10 million to fix the team’s biggest need, CB2, fans of Howie Roseman’s squad can stake that claim with confidence, as it just might be true.

With a dynamic trio of Darius Slay, James Bradberry, and Avonte Maddox filling the top-3 cornerback spots and returning performers Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps expected to start at safety, the Eagle should have no problem running the matchup zone-heavy defensive scheme from a two safety shell Jonathan Gannon wanted to deploy in 2021 but just didn’t have the personnel to accommodate.

Certainly fans, foes, and regular joes from across the NFL universe have taken notice of the Eagles’ newfound defensive excellence and some, like Tre Boston, have taken notice. Despite being out of the NFL since March of 2021, Boston wants to make his triumphant return alongside his former Carolina Panthers teammate.

Tre Boston sees something special in the Philadelphia Eagles’ secondary.

Could the Philadelphia Eagles go into training camp, through the preseason, and all the way to Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season with their current depth at safety? Yes; the team currently has six safeties on their roster and four of them, Andre Chachere, Marcus Epps, K’Von Wallace, and Anthony Harris, are basically locks to make the Week 1 roster.

Is that depth good enough to whether a 17-game, 18-week NFL season, especially for a team with serious playoff aspirations? No, not unless the team can weather the season without suffering a single long-term injury or a player like Josiah Scott switching positions.

While some would suggest making another big splash and pulling off a blockbuster trade with the Cincinnati Bengals for disgruntled free safety Jessie Bates III, or even a smaller but similarly substantial trade for Baltimore Ravens strong safety Chuck Clark, the Eagles’ cap sheet isn’t exactly overflowing with excess capital to spend on another market-priced defensive back.

No, unless the team really has a thing for Clark – which they should – at this point, the Eagles would be wise to simply play the margins and secure the services of a veteran safety with experience playing in a Cover 2 shell. Fortunately, there are players like Jaquiski Tartt, Tashaun Gipson, and yes, Tre Boston who fit that bill and could be added to the roster for nothing more than a spot on the 90-man roster.

Boston, a former fourth-round pick out of North Carolina, is a fun player to watch run around a football field. He’s a fierce hitter, a prolific though slightly inconsistent tackler, and a bit of a ball hawk, who picked off 15 passes and defensed 42 over his 104 games at the NFL level. While nothing about his testing numbers really jump off the screen, his tape shows a player with good long speed, a solid bust, and an eye for taking good angles on his way to the ball handler.

Whether deployed two-deep, single-high, or in the box, Boston is easily one of the Top-2,880 professional football players in the world today and thus wouldn’t be out of place in a training camp this summer.

Considering his stated interest in re-teaming up with James Bradberry, who he played with in Carolina in both 2016 and 2019, I don’t see much of a downside in giving the collegiate Tar Heel a call to see if he can still go after taking the entire 2021 season off.

Is Boston a better player than Epps? I mean, probably not but maybe. Is he a better fourth safety than Chachere, or a better fifth-overall player than Jared Mayden and/or Reed Blankenship? That, my friends, feels much more likely.

Unless the Eagles are absolutely sold on one of their UDFA defensive backs, either from 2021 or 2022, bringing in a player like Boston could prove a valuable addition, even if it’s only on the margins.

Next. Spotrac projects Brandon Graham’s next contract. dark

Ultimately, the Philadelphia Eagles can’t sign everyone. As fun as it would be to see Jessie Bates III take his talents to the City of Brotherly Love, his potential cap hit, which Sportac predicts could be in the $15 million range per season, is likely just too rich for Howie Roseman’s blood. Bringing in a veteran safety a la Corey Grimes in 2019 could prove valuable, especially if that player is literally going to Twitter to lobby for a job. That sort of persistence certainly gets noticed, even if it’s just by sports blogs.