NFL free agency grades: Experts put Eagles' sneaky-good defensive addition among top moves

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Adam Hermann
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NFL experts all love one Eagles free agency decision so far originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles' 2021 NFL free agency period has been pretty uneventful so far, with just a couple moves here and there while some players from last season headed for greener pastures elsewhere. This is what happens when your cap space is extremely tight.

But one of the few moves that Howie Roseman has made so far is earning some serious praise from experts around the league, almost unanimously.

The Eagles signed veteran safety Anthony Harris to a one-year, $5 million deal, scooping up a guy who many believed was the best available safety this offseason to address the position opposite Rodney McLeod after Jalen Mills departed for big money in New England.

Harris turns 30 in October, and had a bit of a down year in 2020, but he is widely viewed as a solid defender and a bit underrated. The early returns have this as a gigantic win for the Eagles.

Seriously, just check out these grades and reviews of the deal:

Pro Football Focus

"They did make one really strong free-agent signing, adding Vikings S Anthony Harris on a one-year deal for just $5 million a year removed from playing on a franchise tag for $11.441 million. Harris’ 90.6 grade since 2018 is tied for the best mark among safeties. While he didn’t have his best season in 2020, this contract is an absolute steal for a highly motivated player that will patrol the deep third on a defense that ranked 28th in forced incompletions on passes 20-plus yards downfield last season."

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer

"One low-key signing I liked: Anthony Harris. The Vikings tagged him last year, and he had just a so-so season after that. That he turns 30 in the fall doesn’t help him either. But at his height, he was a very, very good safety in Minnesota, and Philly bringing him in to be the centerfielder in new DC Jonathan Gannon’s defense at $5 million for a year is a pretty nice gamble that could pay off big."

NBC Sports' Peter King

"CLEVELAND and PHILADELPHIA got excellent safeties—John Johnson (the Rams’ defensive signal-caller, and still just 25) goes to Cleveland and ex-Viking Anthony Harris is manna from heaven for a needy Eagle secondary."

USA Today

"Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman put together one of the bigger steals of the 2021 free-agency period with the signing of Harris to a one-year, $5 million contract.

"[...]

"Sometimes you find yourself in a disastrous situation, and there’s no way out. That’s what Harris faced in 2020. It unfairly depressed his market, but the Eagles are the beneficiary here, and Harris should thrive with a better front four and more experienced (if inconsistent) cornerbacks."

CBS Sports

"They were reportedly in on John Johnson, but the reality is the focal point of their offseason is the draft. Harris isn't ideal for a rebuilding team, but if he plays up to his potential, he'll help anchor a defense in transition."

Not a bad one out of the bunch. Will Harris be here in a couple years? It's impossible to say right now, and that's perfectly okay. The Eagles' future is as uncertain as it's been since the summer before Chip Kelly's first season as head coach, so a one-year deal on the cheap for a potentially great player is exactly what this team needed. Well done by Howie Roseman.

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