"What we were looking for specifically from the safety spot, and Malcolm fits, was a quarterback for our defensive backs," Roseman said. ". . . We felt like Malcolm was a really good fit in all those areas."
The price is relevant when considering that New Orleans signed Jairus Byrd to replace Jenkins. Byrd was the top safety in free agency and seemed a potential fit for the Eagles because he overlapped with Chip Kelly at Oregon and matched the profile the Eagles look for in a free agent. He signed a deal that made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL, and Roseman said both scheme and cost were factors in deciding against Byrd.
"If you're going to pay a guy that sort of money, what is he going to do in your scheme? And then how do you project him going forward?" Roseman said. "Because you can't pay a player in free agency for what they've done; you have to pay them for what they're going to do."
Roseman was encouraged about Nate Allen's potential. He said Allen improved throughout the season, and he noted that some of the safeties who received big contracts this offseason were late bloomers.
The Eagles surrendered a draft pick for Darren Sproles because there was competition on the market, Roseman said. It did not appear that Sproles would be released, meaning the Eagles needed to act if they wanted him.
One glaring need that was not addressed during free agency was an edge pass rusher. The Eagles ranked 20th in the NFL in sacks last season. They have not signed an outside linebacker in free agency.
"It's hard to find pass rushers, certainly on the open market," Roseman said. "Not a lot of teams letting them go, and you go in the draft . . . and they go high. That's a hard thing to find."
The Eagles still are assessing available free agents, but the market has thinned. The draft will provide an opportunity for the Eagles to address the position. They are also hoping for improvements from returning players. Roseman hinted that Connor Barwin could be used more as a pass-rusher after serving as a do-it-all outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Bill Davis' first season installing the 3-4.
There is still time for roster maneuvering. The draft is in May, and the Eagles hope to add to their six picks. Trading Jackson is one way to do it. However, some of the Eagles' $16.2 million in salary-cap space will be needed for contract extensions for their second- and third-year players.