By Connor Thomas

 

The Eagles gave up one of the worst average completion percentages in the NFL this past season, and a lot of that was due to a lack of depth at the cornerback position. Some of it does fall on the shoulders of the linebackers, and we’ve already taken a look at some potential free agent targets at that level of the defense. However, the majority of that problem rests on the corners (and the defensive coordinator, but he will not be replaced). Darius Slay got a pro bowl nod this year, and Avonte Maddox looked great in the slot at points, but there is still depth to fill out. Here are some names the Eagles should have on their radar:

  • Stephon Gilmore

    Gilmore is the biggest name available at cornerback in free agency this year, and despite having the highest previous AAV of any free agent corner ($13mil), he could end up being more affordable than that. Despite being the Defensive Player of the Year just 2 seasons ago, Gilmore had a down year in 2021 as he recovered from a major quad injury, and at 31 years old he’s very possibly on the back end of his career. What that doesn’t mean, though, is that Gilmore can’t play. The man was a 1st Team All-Pro in 2018 and 2019, and has been a pro bowler each of the last 4 seasons. He’d be expensive, but if the Eagles want to go overkill with their starting 2 corners, adding Gilmore alongside Slay would be awesome.

  • Carlton Davis

    Davis is only 25 years old, and is hitting free agency for the first time in his young NFL career. The good news for teams looking to employ his services is that his previous team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have much bigger fish to fry now that Tom Brady has officially retired from football. Davis has already started 50 games at corner through his first 4 years in the NFL, so he’s more experienced than most young players available, and some analysts around the league believe he has CB1 upside. The Eagles don’t need a CB1 with Darius Slay locked up for at least another 2 years, but after the Steven Nelson experiment this past year, maybe Davis will be a shot they take to fill the 2nd starting corner slot.

  • J.C. Jackson

    Jackson is the Holy Grail of free agent cornerbacks available this offseason. Give whatever credit you want to Bill Belichick’s defensive scheme, but Jackson has tallied 22 interceptions since 2019, EASILY the most in the NFL. He’s also only 26 years old, setting him up for a major pay day in his first foray into free agency. New England will be eager to re-sign him, but they won’t be alone in their interest. The Eagles have made splashy free agent corner moves before (Ronald Darby, Byron Maxwell, Nnamdi Asomugha), and even though they seem to fall apart a lot less often than they play out well, it has not deterred the team from continuing to invest in the position. If they choose to outspend everyone for Jackson, it could be their biggest free agent investment at the position yet.

  • Sidney Jones

    I know what you’re thinking: no way do the Eagles go after Sidney Jones again after they wasted a high draft pick on him and he never worked out here. You’re probably right, but Jones is not the player he was when he first left Philly. Jones started 11 games in Seattle this past season, and had 10 passes defended, the highest mark of his career. Maybe more impressive is the 66 tackles he logged, good for 6th on the Seahawks in 2021. He’s not a starting option, but at only 25, he is a depth option with upside. I understand the reservations the Eagles could have when it comes to Jones, but he still could have a nice ceiling in a limited role if he gets brought back here.

  • Rasul Douglas

    I’ve long been a huge Rasul Douglas fan, so I may be biased here, but the 5 year pro out of West Virginia burst on the scene this year for the Green Bay Packers. He only had 5 interceptions, but it felt like each and every one of them came in a huge spot. Douglas always demonstrated a great ability to find the football, even during his time in Philly where he spent far too much time getting burnt. Now, it appears that his coverage has improved while still holding a nose for turnovers. I still think Douglas, who is also an apt tackler, could have a higher upside at safety, but it’s clear he deserves playing time somewhere in the NFL. Why not back in Philly? He’s only 26, and made less than $1mil last year. I would love to see Douglas back in midnight green, even in a backup role, come 2022.