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Some help is on the way for the Eagles' secondary

The Eagles on Thursday activated the 21-day practice window for Avonte Maddox.

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Some help is on the way for the Eagles’ secondary.

The Eagles on Thursday activated the 21-day practice window for nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox, who has been on Injured Reserve with a pec injury since September.

Maddox, 27, suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the second game of the season against the Vikings and needed surgery. He has been IR ever since. But last week we saw Maddox working hard on a side field and this week he’ll be back at practice.

By activating his practice window, the Eagles will have 21 days to make a decision to either activate Maddox to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the season. The plan is obviously to have their very talented nickel cornerback return so he can be a part of the playoff run.

When asked in late November if Maddox had a chance to return this season, head coach Nick Sirianni didn’t shoot it down.

“We'll see. Yeah, we'll see. He's working hard,” Sirianni said on Nov. 24. “Working really hard to be able to [come back]. We'll see. That all depends on how his -- I know he's going to put the hard work in. I know we got the best trainers and doctors and strength staff in the NFL.

“But sometimes it's just going to be all with the way the body reacts. We'll see how that goes. I’d hate to put a timetable on him and say, ‘Yeah, we’re expecting him back’ and he doesn't make it [back] or vice versa. So, day by day, we'll see.”

The Eagles could really use Maddox. While he has missed a lot of time in his career with injuries, when he’s on the field Maddox has been a key component in the secondary. Without him, the Eagles have been scrambling for answers at the nickel corner spot, playing Mario Goodrich, Eli Ricks, Bradley Roby, Sydney Brown and more.

Overall this season, the Eagles have the NFL’s No. 28-ranked passing defense. They have given up 255.4 yards per game through the air. Just the Commanders, Buccaneers, Chargers and Jaguars have been worse through 15 weeks of the season.

This is the second straight year Maddox has missed considerable time. Last year he was able to play in just 9 regular season games; he missed the end of the regular season but returned for the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl. The 2018 fourth-round pick has played in 62 games with 37 starts during his six years with the Eagles.

After this season, Maddox has one more year left on his current contract. But he has a base salary of $6.85 million and a cap hit over $10 million next season. So if Maddox is back for 2024, there will likely need to be some action with his contract.

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