The Philadelphia Eagles have been surprisingly quiet on the free agent market, but that may be changing soon. Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, the Eagles are working on a deal that would send Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay to Philadelphia. If Slay is traded to the Eagles, the franchise is negotiating a three-year extension with the 29-year old cornerback.
One of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, Slay has been tasked with covering the opposing team’s No. 1 wide receiver over the past several seasons. Even battling a hamstring injury in 2019 couldn’t slow Slay down as opposing quarterbacks had just an 81.6 passer rating when targeting Slay, who led the Lions with two interceptions and 13 passes defensed.
In Slay’s First Team All-Pro 2017 season, he led the NFL with eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed. He has earned three consecutive Pro Bowls and has recorded multiple interceptions in each of the past six years. Slay has 347 tackles, 104 passes defensed and 19 interceptions in his seven-year career.
Slay signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension with the Lions in 2016, but has outplayed the deal. He is owed $10 million in base salary in 2020 and his average annual salary of $12 million is currently 13th-highest in the NFL (per Over The Cap).
With Byron Jones earning an average of $16.5 million a year from the Miami Dolphins and James Bradberry getting $14.5 million from the New York Giants, the timing is right for Slay to get an extension. Slay clearly isn’t in the Lions’ plans as Detroit signed Desmond Trufant to a two-year, $21 million deal, which he indicated after initial reports of the contract were leaked.
The Eagles have a gaping hole at cornerback, especially after re-signing Jalen Mills and switching him to safety. Ronald Darby is a free agent and the franchise hasn’t been sold on Rasul Douglas or Sidney Jones as adequate replacements. Jones or Douglas could start opposite of Slay in 2020, but the Eagles could also look in free agency for another veteran cornerback or select one in the upper rounds of the draft.
Philadelphia has undergone massive changes in its secondary. The Eagles have declined the contract option of Malcolm Jenkins, moving Mills to safety and re-signing Rodney McLeod. Mills and McLeod are projected to start at the safety positions while the Eagles have Avonte Maddox and Cre’Von LeBlanc as options at slot cornerback. Per Troy Renck of ABC7 in Denver, the Eagles have also checked in on Will Parks, a Philly native who started seven games for the Broncos last season.
Getting that No. 1 outside cornerback is a top priority for the Eagles. Slay easily fills that major void in the defense.