"Malcolm Jenkins has been an outstanding player for us and we are proud of everything he accomplished both on and off the field during his time in Philadelphia," the team said in a statement. "Malcolm was a great teammate and leader, as well as one of the toughest and most reliable players to ever play in our city. After thorough discussion with Malcolm and his agent, Ben Dogra, both sides agreed on the difficult decision to turn the page on what was an incredible six-year relationship. We wish Malcolm and his family all the best as he pursues his next opportunity."
The decision makes the 32-year-old a free agent. Jenkins' option was set to call for a base salary of $7.6 million in 2020. The move saves Philly $4.77 million in cap space with $6.1 million in dead money, per Over The Cap.
Jenkins signed in Philly in 2014 after five years with the New Orleans Saints. He was the Eagles' backend stalwart for the past six seasons, including the Super Bowl run in 2017. The strong safety compiled 81 tackles and 2.5 sacks, with eight passes defended in 2019, and was the most reliable secondary player on a banged-up unit. Over his six seasons with the Eagles, Jenkins was as durable a safety as there was in the NFL, not missing a start during his entire tenure. The decision to decline Jenkins' option could also leave a leadership void in Philly's secondary.
Mills, a seventh-round pick out of LSU, started nine games in 2019 after beginning the season on the PUP list. He compiled 41 tackles, seven passes defended and one interception. Despite battling injuries, Mills was one of the Eagles top corners since taking over starting duties in Philly.
Garafolo noted that Mills is expected to be a hybrid defensive back for the Eagles in 2020, playing corner and safety.
The decision to move on from Jenkins opens the door for Mills to step into the strong safety role, where some scouts believe he could flourish.