The Philadelphia Eagles are “exploring multiple options” at cornerback ahead of the NFL trade deadline, according to a report from NFL insider Jason La Canfora.
One of those options we’ve already seen mentioned is Patrick Peterson. It sounds like the Arizona Cardinals won’t be dealing him, though.
Back story to Patrick Peterson announcing he's staying with Arizona: He met Tuesday for 30 minutes with Cardinals president Michael Bidwill. They discussed ways for the Cardinals to get better and for Peterson to be a leader. PP got assurances from ownership about winning.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 24, 2018
So, what else is out there for the Eagles?
Well, La Canfora specifically mentioned Janoris Jenkins and Gareon Conley as two players that teams are “sniffing around on.”
With the Giants clearly in fire sale mode, I don’t doubt that Jenkins is available. But I don’t think the 30-year-old corner makes sense for the Eagles. Jenkins would cost nearly $7 million in cap space for the rest of the 2018 season before carrying a $14.75 million figure in 2019.
Conley makes much more sense for the Eagles. The 2017 first-round pick is only 23 years old. He’s inexpensive and under contract through at least 2020, prior to his fifth-year option potentially being activated for 2021. Conley has fallen out of favor with the Raiders as he’s been benched for former Eagles corner Daryl Worley.
Conley might not be an instant difference-maker for the Eagles, but that’s OK. It doesn’t hurt for Philadelphia to think about the future of the position with Ronald Darby set to be a free agent and Jalen Mills not looking like a reliable long-term answer.
For what it’s worth, the Eagles reportedly “loved” Conley heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. They ultimately passed on him at No. 14 overall, though, to select Derek Barnett. It’s entirely possible the sexual assault allegations against Conley scared the Eagles off from selecting him.
It’s hard to say what Conley would cost. With the Raiders getting a 2019 first-round pick for Amari Cooper, they could very well have a high asking price. I wouldn’t give up more than a fourth-round pick, which is what 2016 first-round corner Eli Apple was traded for earlier this week.
La Canfora also recently mentioned that the Eagles reached out to the Broncos about defensive backs Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby.
Acquiring Harris Jr. would cost around $4.8 million in cap space for the rest of this season. He’s then under contract at a reasonable $8.8 cap figure on the last year of his deal in 2019. The 29-year-old Harris is very versatile; he could immediately step in and play in the slot with Sidney Jones missing time. He could also handle playing on the outside.
Roby, 26, is on the last year of his rookie deal. He’d be more of a rental unless the team has plans to re-sign him after this season.
Though it’s clear the Eagles could use upgrades at corner, I kind of find it hard to believe will make significant changes at that position. Jim Schwartz has staunchly defended Mills despite the fact the third-year player is allowing the most yards in the league this season. I don’t see Darby, who’s had some good outings this season, getting benched either. Maybe the Eagles are really looking for slot help with Jones out, but they did show a lot of trust in Dexter McDougle against the Panthers.
Again, the feeling here is that the Eagles’ best play is to try to buy low on a potential long-term player like Conley. They shouldn’t get so caught up in focusing on short-term rentals in an effort to save what could be a lost season.