Yesterday, a report from NFL insider Jason La Canfora named the Eagles as one of several teams “very much in the mix” for free agent cornerback Joe Haden. The Eagles didn’t get Haden, though, because he signed with the Steelers.
But were the Eagles ever really in on him?
While several teams in on Haden told me Eagles were in that mix, Eagle source says that's not the case. Team likes it's young CBs— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 30, 2017
A few thoughts here.
1 - This could be La Canfora saving face.
2 - This could be the Eagles trying to make it look like they weren’t interested despite the fact they actually were. The Eagles don’t want their current corners to feel like the team tried to replace them.
3 - This could be a legitimate report and the Eagles didn’t actually want Haden. It’s true that the Eagles could use more cornerback help, but Haden wasn’t available for cheap. The Eagles need to save the cap space they have right now to roll over for next year in order to keep Alshon Jeffery, Tim Jernigan, Nigel Bradham, etc.
The Eagles are far from being “set” at corner. There are concerns at that spot, for sure. Ronald Darby could be more like the 2016 version of himself than the 2015 one. Jalen Mills, who Pro Football Focus graded as the league’s worst corner last year, could struggle. Rasul Douglas might not be more than a backup. Sidney Jones may never be the same player following his Achilles injury.
But one would be remiss to overlook the potential this young group has. Darby and Mills are only 23 years old. Douglas is 22. Jones is 21. Darby has shown he’s capable of playing really well. The Eagles’ coaching staff and players alike have raved about Mills. Douglas is a third-round pick who could develop into a starter after this season. Jones was a potential top 10 pick who fell to the Eagles in the second round.
Adding Haden may have bolstered the Eagles’ corner group in the short-term. But executive vice president of football operations cautioned against signing “band-aids” at that position earlier this offseason. Haden would have been a risky band-aid for Philadelphia. The Eagles are opting to roll with their youth instead, and it’s hard to blame them for choosing to do so.