There is reason to think that Justin Evans has his best NFL football in front of him, because what is in the past has been challenging, to say the least.
He missed an entire season (2019) on Injured Reserve after suffering a torn Achilles tendon. The next year, 2020 was a washout as Evans spent four months on the Physically Unable to Perform list rehabbing the injury. Evans then spent the entire 2021 campaign out of football before returning to the league in 2022.
Last year with the Saints, Evans played in 15 games, with four starts, and recorded 29 total tackles and two passes defensed. Evans got his career back on track and now he is with the Eagles, having agreed to terms on a one-year contract on Tuesday.
Evans has actually been in the NFL since 2017, when Tampa Bay selected him in the second round (50th overall) of the NFL Draft after he finished his collegiate career at Texas A&M. Evans played in 24 games, with 21 starts in Tampa Bay, and then the hurdles came at him. Fast and furious.
He's healthy now and the Eagles are going to see how much he can help a safety picture that has changed significantly since free agency began with 2022 starters C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Detroit) and Marcus Epps (Las Vegas) moving on. The Eagles still have young veterans K'Von Wallace, Reed Blankenship, Andre Chachere along with versatile defensive backs like Josiah Scott and Avonte Maddox, one of the game's best nickel cornerbacks who saw time at safety earlier in his career, available to compete at safety.
And, of course, we know it's early in free agency and the Eagles are apt to address safety throughout the rest of free agency, in the NFL Draft at the end of April, or, certainly, after the draft. They didn't acquire Gardner-Johnson until just before the 2022 regular season began, via a trade with New Orleans.
But Evans and the Eagles are together now and Evans will look to get back to playing his best football – and then some – now that he's further distanced himself from a few seasons of inactivity on the field as he spent time gaining his health and confidence.