By releasing Dwayne Gratz on the eve before training camp, the Eagles parted ways with one of the most experienced cornerbacks on their roster. Gratz’s departure ultimately didn’t come as surprise, though, considering he failed to stand out in spring practices.
With the Eagles lacking experience and talent at corner, the team might not be done adding players at that position. Doug Pederson hinted as much during his press conference on Monday.
“Well, again, it's a position that we continue to look even outside, as we do every position, and as you know, we're going to continue to look and try to bring in guys if we can and just create as much competition at that spot,” said the Eagles’ head coach. “You know, it's obviously a spot that we're going to keep our eye on throughout camp. But now it gives a couple of our younger guys, you know, Jalen Mills, and guys like that, a chance to really get in here and get valuable reps.”
If the Eagles actually do intend to sign or trade for a cornerback, here are seven options for them.
I’ve been suggesting this idea since March. Fuller is the best option for the Eagles. It sounds like the Bears are going to cut or trade their 2014 first round pick. Multiple Chicago Bears writers have left Fuller off their 53-man roster projections because, despite the fact he looked good in OTAs and minicamp, they think he’ll be gone.
We know the Eagles had some level of interest in Fuller at some point. He was one of six players Philadelphia wanted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. It’s also worth noting that vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas spent a year with the Bears so he has some familiarity there. So does Eagles director of pro scouting Dwayne Joseph, who was with the Bears when Fuller was drafted.
Chicago is missing their third and fourth round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, the Eagles own three fourth round picks this year. Maybe the Eagles can trade one of those to the Bears for Fuller plus Chicago’s sixth or seventh round selection. The Eagles would jump down two rounds in order to get a potential starting corner.
Fuller isn’t a perfect fix for the Eagles; he’s struggled to stay healthy and to play well. But at only 25 years of age, there’s reason to believe he still has potential to be a good starter. The Eagles should take a chance on Fuller.
Verner reportedly has a workout scheduled for next week, though it’s unclear for which team. The 28-year-old made the Pro Bowl in 2013 with the Titans. He signed a big deal with the Buccaneers in 2014 but was cut earlier this offseason. Bucs Nation said Verner’s release was mostly motivated by money.
Verner ultimately played 46 games for the Bucs, starting 23 and four interceptions and 20 passes defensed. He had a few good games and wasn’t all bad, but he simply wasn’t worth the money the team was paying him.
It seems surprising Verner hasn’t been signed by now. One potential concern is that he reportedly showed up out of shape to a tryout with the Jaguars.
Verner has logged 70 starts in 110 career games played. If he’s in shape, the experienced veteran could be worth a look for the Eagles.
Revis is one of the most recognizable names still available in free agency, so that’s why I included him here, but he doesn’t make sense for the Eagles. Short version: too old, too expensive, possibly just not good anymore.
Another recognizable name. The Packers cut Shields earlier this offseason. The 29-year-old corner suffered his fourth career concussion during the 2016 season. It sounds like he might take this entire year off to recover, according to an Instagram post from his account. Not really a realistic option for the Eagles, if that’s the case.
As a fan of The Killers, I really wouldn’t mine this signing. But does it make a lot of sense for the Eagles? Flowers turned 31 earlier this offseason. He’s dealt with injury issues throughout his career; he’s only played 16 games in one season and that was in 2011. Bolts From The Blue notes Flowers is still good in run support but he’s become more of a liability in coverage. Flowers is reportedly visiting with the Arizona Cardinals this week.
Hall turns 33 in December. He’s best used as a slot corner at this point in his career. The Eagles already have Ron Brooks, who they seemingly like, for that role. Aaron Grymes has also been challenging for playing time there. Hall seems an unlikely option for the Eagles, but he’s a notable name that’s out there.
Turned 34 in March. Cut by the worst team in the NFL, which isn’t an encouraging sign. Dawgs By Nature’s assessment of Williams reads as follows:
Williams was either “just another guy” or below average in much of his time with the club.
What should the Eagles do?
I don’t think the Eagles should be rushing to sign some washed up veteran. I know the young guys such as Mills and Rasul Douglas might go through some growing pains, but that might be necessary in order for them to develop.
If anything, the Eagles should go after Fuller. He’s young enough where he could potentially be a long-term answer for Philadelphia. At the same time, they shouldn’t need to stake major resources in him in case he turns out to be a flop.
Check out Doug Pederson’s post-practice press conference (click here or watch below).
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson talking after the first training camp practice!Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Monday, July 24, 2017