The Philadelphia Eagles surprisingly didn’t address either of their two biggest positions of need — cornerback and wide receiver — on the first day of legal tampering. The lack of a cornerback acquisition was especially disappointing with top tier options Byron Jones and James Bradberry signing with different teams.
To be quite honest, I’m not in love with the Eagles’ remaining options at corner. Jones was the perfect fit in many respects; these other guys don’t check the boxes like he did. Let’s take a look at what’s left for the Eagles as they potentially search for two starters.
Mills is reportedly drawing interest from the Detroit Lions. That makes sense given the Cory Undlin connection there. Still, my guess is that the Green Goblin re-signs with the Eagles. No one loves Mills more than Jim Schwartz. Mills might find that a one-year deal is his best bet after previously missing significant time with a foot injury. He’d have the chance to rehab his value and test the market again in 2021.
Many Eagles fans who wanted Jones have pivoted to clamoring for Slay. It is worth noting the three-time Pro Bowl selection was drafted in the second-round during Schwartz’s last year as the Lions’ head coach. But I don’t see the Eagles trading for Slay. He turned 29 earlier this year, he’s had some injury issues, he likely costs draft compensation, and he wants to be the highest paid corner in football. If the Eagles were going to invest in a big money corner, they would’ve just signed Jones. Jones is younger, doesn’t have an injury history, and wouldn’t have cost a pick.
CHRIS HARRIS JR.
The Eagles were originally linked to Harris Jr. prior to last season’s NFL trade deadline before it happened again back in January. Here’s what we wrote at the time:
CHJ is definitely talented. He’s a four-time Pro Bowl selection who also once made first-team All Pro. The 5-10, 199 pound play-maker has 20 career interceptions, 86 passes defensed (that’s a lot!), six forced fumbles, 4.5 sacks, and four defensive touchdowns. CHJ is durable with 96.5% of possible games played and he’s showcased versatility to play at both nickel cornerback and on the outside. He most recently ranked 35th out of 134 corners graded by Pro Football Focus in 2019. Adding him to the Eagles’ secondary should only make the unit better.
The problem is that CHJ turns 31 in June and, as Howie Roseman even stated, the Eagles need to get younger. Acquiring older veterans worked great in 2017 but hasn’t so much the past two offseasons. CHJ is worth consideration as a stop-gap but he’s not an ideal long-term solution for the Birds.
“Several people tell me Logan Ryan will be in play for the Eagles and it makes sense. He grew up right outside of Philadelphia, he’d be a terrific fit from a scheme and personality point of view and he may be slightly less expensive than Byron Jones.”
Ryan turned 29 in February so the age factor isn’t ideal.
The Eagles are reportedly interested in Parks, who has experience playing a number of defensive back roles. The Philly native could be had for a reasonable price.
Parks has logged 15 career starts in 62 games played over the past four years. Seven of those starts came last season. Parks’ stat totals: 149 total tackles, 13 passes defensed, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one sack. Our friends over at Mile High Report note that Parks played some nickel cornerback last year in addition to his role as a third safety. MHR seems to think fairly highly of him.
Trufant’s age isn’t ideal but his combination of price and talent might make sense for the Eagles. I’d check in with him:
Trufant overlapped with newly hired Eagles defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel for four seasons in Atlanta. Manuel was the Falcons’ secondary coach from 2015 though 2016 before moving up to defensive coordinator from 2017 through 2018. Trufant’s sole Pro Bowl season came when Manuel was his position coach in 2015.
The Eagles might need to sign two starting cornerbacks in free agency depending on what happens with Jalen Mills. If Trufant is available at a reasonable price, it’s an option the Eagles should weigh. He turns 30 in September and only played nine games last year, which isn’t ideal, but he did finish 32nd out of 133 cornerbacks graded by Pro Football Focus last season. There are worse options out there.
BGN’s Michael Kist wrote about why the Eagles should be interested in Amukamara.
Did I mention that Amukamara has played in 58 of a potential 64 games in the last four years? What cornerback have the Eagles have that come close to that 91% mark of availability? The Eagles want to “get younger”, but the reality is the only area were the recent collection of Eagles corners have the advantage over the steady and soon-to-be 31 Amukamara is youth. He can’t be the only addition to the group, but Amukamara represents a bargain for what he’ll likely fetch on the market. The Eagles have had nothing that come close to his run of consistency and dependability, and by all accounts he’s a great locker room guy. It’s not the flashiest move, but it’s one the Eagles need to seriously consider. They’ve done a hell of a lot worse.
I’m not enthused.
There seems to be some fan interest in Waynes. On the plus side, he’s not too old (turns 28 in July), he’s relatively durable (never missed more than two games in one season), and he’s fast (4.31 speed). On the downside, he’s never graded particularly well in coverage (career 91.3 passer rating allowed per PFF) and there’s a reason why the Vikings are willing to let him walk after drafting his replacements. Waynes, to me, is essentially at best the caliber of player that Ronald Darby was in 2017. He’s a “win with” player who isn’t a real long-term solution.
Breeland is coming off a full season as a starting cornerback for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. He turned 28 in January so he’s not too old. He could come recommended from Eagles personnel consultant Scot McCloughan, who was Washington’s general manager when Breeland started 28 games for DC from 2015 through 2016. Breeland probably isn’t as much a of a long-term option as he is a stop-gap starter.
The No. 16 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft only logged one start with the Buffalo Bills last year. He played 32% of the Bills’ defensive snaps while also helping out on special teams. Johnson, who turns 28 in August, has outside and nickel corner experience. He hasn’t started more than four games in a season since he was a rookie.
Apple, the No. 10 pick from the 2016 NFL Draft, only turns 25 in August. Maybe there’s some untapped upside here? The Philly native and Eastern Regional High School alumnus might prefer to sign with the Eagles if his offers are close. Personally, I’d pass. He’s allowed a 99.9 passer rating in his career (107.5 last season) and he’s committed 20 penalties in his last 25 games. I don’t think he’s good.
Move past the name recognition. He turns 30 in June and he’s just not good anymore.