On Tuesday, James Palmer of NFL Network reported that the Philadelphia Eagles cut safety Will Parks.
The release comes on the heels of an ugly Eagles loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. Against Seattle, Parks played 18 special teams snaps, 10 defensive snaps, and logged one solo tackle.
Parks was originally selected by the Denver Broncos in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft. Denver was in the process of deconstructing the ‘No Fly Zone’ and leaned on him to play a significant amount of playing time.
As a rookie defensive back, Parks played in 16 games and logged 22 tackles (17 solo), three passes defended, one tackle for a loss, recovered one fumble, and an interception.
Described as a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ by former coaches and players, Parks emerged as a dependable reserve and special teams player. His consistency, energy, and love for the game immediately made him a fan-favorite.
During his four years in Denver, Parks was usually one of the first players on the practice field, one of the last to leave, and played nearly every position in the secondary. He also built a reputation for his involvement in some memorable Broncos moments.
As a rookie, Parks converted teammate Justin Simmons’ blocked extra point into a two-point conversion that upset the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. Two years later, Parks delivered a devastating hit to Pittsburgh Steelers' TE Xavier Grimble that forced a fumble preventing a touchdown.
As a Bronco, Parks played in 62 career games only missing two contests in 2019. He saw 18 career starts totaling 149 tackles (104 solo), 13 passes defensed, six tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, four interceptions, and five QB hits.
Because the Broncos have a combined $22.5 million invested in the secondary between Bryce Callahan, Kareem Jackson, and Simmons, the team could not retain Parks when he hit unrestricted free agency last spring. Instead, the Philadelphia native signed a one-year, $1.6 million deal with the Eagles.
Although the Eagles are a below-average football team, Parks’ underwhelming performance suggests that this wasn’t a good fit and that he was underutilized. He only played in six games, recording a meager 13 tackles (11 solo) and two tackles for a loss.
Now that Parks is available on waivers to any team, could the Broncos benefit from claiming the versatile, blue-collar veteran?
Denver's special teams unit is arguably one of the worst in the NFL. While kicker Brandon McManus is a team captain, the Broncos don’t have a dependable, consistent presence on their return teams — or on their kickoff- and punt-coverage units.
The 26-year-old Parks would immediately change the coverage, tackling, and missed assignments that have all but bled the Broncos dry. He would also be a welcomed veteran addition to a young cornerback room that must now endure the possibility of Bryce Callahan missing time with his latest foot injury.
Combine injuries with the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and the acquisition of Parks could make a lot of sense for the Broncos.