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The Eagles need cornerbacks, sure, but did they really need another slot corner? A fair question to ask when assessing the free-agent addition of Nickell Robey-Coleman on Wednesday.

By my count, the Eagles have no fewer than six players who can line up in the slot. It’s Cre’Von LeBlanc’s natural position. Many project Avonte Maddox there, too. Sidney Jones saw time inside each of the past two seasons, for what it’s worth. Though listed as safeties on paper, Jalen Mills and Will Parks will cover slot receivers as well.

Now there’s Robey-Coleman. I’ll spare you the Nickell/nickel puns (for now at least), but that’s pretty much been his role for seven seasons in the NFL.
There’s a long line of potential candidates for that role, for sure, though Robey-Coleman might be the best of the bunch. At least, none have the track record, either in terms of performance or availability.

Robey-Coleman has missed just one game in his career, and despite being around for awhile, he’s only 28, so there’s reason to anticipate his body breaking down anytime soon. It’s a one-year deal, so no long-term risk for the Eagles regardless, and reportedly for only $1.3 million at that.

And of the other options, who is proven better than Robey-Coleman, or even particularly good in the slot? LeBlanc had a strong half-season two years ago after bouncing around the league. Maddox has been very inconsistent in his brief career. Jones has been consistently injured or bad. And Mills and Parks are still safeties by trade.

When you look at it like that, you can’t blame the Eagles for bringing in a corner who’s been productive year in, year out.

Plus, seeing as Robey-Coleman measures in at just 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, Mills and Parks are likely to still get plenty of work against bigger slot receivers.

Robey-Coleman spent a season with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz when the pair was in Buffalo in 2014, and the last three years with the Los Angeles Rams, serving as the both the No. 1 Nickell AND nickel corner (there it is…) on a conference championship team in ’18. He may be unheralded, but you can’t argue his resume.

At the very least, he’s solid, which is an upgrade over what the Eagles had. The addition of Robey-Coleman also means, along with Slay, presumably only one starting cornerback job is left to fill.

You’d much rather have LeBlanc, Maddox, Jones and a draft pick competing over one spot than trying to figure out the top two.

Grade: A-

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