When the Philadelphia Eagles released injury-prone Safety Kenny Phillips, few people were surprised by the decision. He has missed several games in his career due to injuries, and the team had Patrick Chung and Nate Allen to fall back on. It is likely that the team knew Phillips would play second-fiddle to these players, so they cut bait with him.
With that said, for the New England Patriots, his release could be a great thing. After placing Adrian Wilson on season-ending injured reserve, the team is currently in the market for a safety. Although Phillips is out with a nagging quad injury, when healthy, his talent is unquestionable.
In his career 56 games played, Phillips has 263 total tackles, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, and eight interceptions in parts of five seasons. Even though he has gained a reputation for being hurt, he has played in at least 15 games in three of his five years in the NFL, including playing all 16 games twice.
His only hiccups came in 2009 and 2012, missing significant time in those years with knee issues. In his other three years, he has managed to stay on the field.
Given how bad the safety play has looked behind Devin McCourty both in this year’s preseason and the last few regular seasons, Phillips would be worth the gamble. The Patriots would be able to sign him to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal. If he fares well, they could then extend him if they wanted to.
If he is not ready to start the season, he could be placed on the Designated to Return IR List, becoming eligible to play halfway through the year. If the Patriots feel he can play now, they could activate him right away. He would immediately become a major upgrade from Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon in the team’s secondary.
If the move turns out to be a mistake and he stays sidelined, the team can release him without hurting the football team. After all, the Patriots brought in a third-string quarterback celebrity in Tim Tebow who didn’t suit up for them at all in the regular season. If they are willing to do that, they should certainly be willing to give Phillips a shot, since it would be addressing a major area of weakness on the team.
He is only 26-years-old and has plenty of time left to prove that he can stay durable from now on in the NFL. He is better than who the Patriots have now opposite McCourty, and the team should give him a shot to help out the secondary in 2013 and beyond.