Eagles fans should be very pleased with Howie Roseman’s latest move. On Thursday, the Birds landed Lions Pro-Bowl cornerback Darius Slay for a third round and a fifth round pick in this year’s draft. Upon acquiring Slay, he signed a three-year extension worth $50 million.
On paper, the Eagles finally have their shutdown corner.
As an Eagles fan, I am ecstatic about this trade. Slay has arguably been a top-5 cornerback over the last 5 or so years. Not only do the Eagles have a guy to line up opposite their opponent’s best receiver, but now the rest of the secondary will fall into more ideal roles.
This move also clearly shows that the Eagles are going for it. You don’t add a 29 year old pro bowl corner without planning to compete for a Lombardi.
The cynic in me is keeping me a bit grounded, however. No Eagles fan who remembers the “Dream Team” years and the much-celebrated acquisition of Nnamdi Asomugha will be completely confident about this move. The last time that the Eagles had really hit on a cornerback, either in the draft, trade, or free-agency, was in 2008 when the Eagles signed Asante Samuel. Since then, we’ve watched in horror as Nnamdi, Byron Maxwell, Bradley Fletcher, and others have gotten torched by opposing receivers. Hopefully Slay bucks this trend.
Going into the offseason, wide receiver and cornerback were the two biggest needs for the Eagles roster. They got their corner, but did not add any receivers. Stefon Diggs went to Buffalo and DeAndre Hopkins was traded to Arizona, but there are some solid options left, not to mention a very deep draft class. Based on what has happened so far, it seems like Howie might be looking at the draft as the best means for adding that stud receiver.
Safety is a need once again with the departure of Malcolm Jenkins. Jalen Mills was re-signed to move over to safety, but it would probably be a good move to add some depth in the draft.
The addition of Slay was the first big step in a successful offseason. Add a good receiver, and once again, the NFC East will run through Philadelphia.