Eagles awarded safety Blake Countess on waivers


Howie Roseman always regretted having to release rookie safety Blake Countess after 2016 training camp.

Now he has him back. The team was awarded Countess off waivers Friday. 

The Eagles drafted Countess out of Auburn in the sixth round but released him after training camp. The Rams signed him to their practice squad, but he was promoted to their active roster that November and played in 41 of the Rams’ last 42 games.

Countess, 25, has two career interceptions in part-time duty. He played 164 defensive snaps and 325 on special teams in 2017 and 58 on defense and 356 on special teams last year.

In the Rams’ postseason run to the Super Bowl, Countess played seven snaps on defense in the three playoff games and 72 on special teams. 

The Rams asked Countess to take a pay cut, but when he refused they released him.

The Eagles are near the bottom of the NFL pecking order in waivers claims — which this time of year are based on previous season’s record — so that means no team with a worse 2018 record than the Eagles put in a claim for Countess.

By claiming Countess and not waiting until he cleared waivers, the Eagles assume what’s left of Countess’s contract.

Countess is scheduled to earn $2.025 million this year, which is a lot for a special teamer, but it just goes to show you how much the Eagles liked Countess when they drafted him.

Countess actually becomes the second-highest-paid defensive back on the roster — at least tied for it — in terms of 2019 base salary, although his cap figure is fourth-highest (behind Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby).

$8,100,000 … Malcolm Jenkins
$2,025,000 … Jalen Mills
$2,025,000 … Blake Countess
$1,500,000 … Rodney McLeod
$1,023,190 … Sidney Jones
$1,000,000 … Ronald Darby
$930,000 … Andrew Sendejo
$720,000 … Deiondre’ Hall
$720,000 … Cre’von LeBlanc
$670,000 … Rasul Douglas
$570,000 … Avonte Maddox
$570,000 … Tre’ Sullivan
$570,000 … Godwin Igwebuike

In the 2016 final cut, the Eagles released Countess and Ed Reynolds and kept starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod — who are still the starters — along with Chris Maragos, a special teams ace, and Jaylen Watkins, a fourth-round pick who had been with the team in 2014 and 2015.

Countess spent four years at Michigan before transferring to Auburn, where he used his final year of eligibility.

Adding Countess really helps make up for the Eagles not drafting a safety this year. 

He joins a mixed bag of backup safeties that includes 31-year-old veteran Andrew Sendejo, second-year undrafted pro Tre Sullivan, waiver claim pickup Godwin Igwebuike and 24-year-old Deiondre’ Hall, who played in 13 games for the Eagles last year, mainly on special teams.

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