Jalen Mills is set to enter the final year of a four year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles and given his recent history, it’s safe to say that this upcoming season is a make it or break it year for him.
Mills has virtually been nonexistent ever since his quality showing two seasons ago. Last year was certainly a forgettable one for the LSU alum, as he was marred by poor play and injuries. Mills was frequently targeted by opposing offenses and by the time he sustained his season ending injury in week eight, he was among the league leaders in yards allowed while in coverage. His coverage skills were severely lacking and opposing offenses loved to have their top receivers go one-on-one against Mills.
Mills has spent this offseason nursing his foot injury and was recently placed on the teams PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. For Mills sake, it is best if he returns to the field as soon as possible. The more time that Mills spends on the PUP list, the more opportunities that other players at his position have to take advantage of opportunities and potentially cut into his playing time, especially given that the battles at the cornerback position will be among the most scrutinized battles for the duration of camp. The rise of younger players such as Cre’Von LeBlanc and Avonte Maddox hinder Mills chances of securing a spot as a starter. This fact coupled with injuries renders no cornerbacks standing on the team completely secure and who’s healthy could essentially determine who suits up for week one and who doesn’t.
Once Mills comes off the PUP list and practices, he can’t go back on the PUP list for the rest of the offseason. If he does get hurt again, Mills is eligible to be on the regular season PUP list, but would not be able to play until week seven. This rule makes it even more critical that Mills stays healthy.
Regardless of when Jalen Mills returns to the field, he needs a strong showing this season. Mills needs to prove to the team that last year was a fluke and that he can provide excellent coverage and remain healthy, especially considering the current competition at cornerback. Jim Schwartz is a big fan of Mills but that support could quickly fade away if Mills presence on the field continues to hurt the team more than it helps.