NFL Trade Rumors: Eagles In Mix to Acquire Shutdown CB

Darius Slay

Getty Darius Slay prior to a Lions game.

It’s the trade that won’t go away. Call it the Jordan Matthews of NFL deals.

Rewind the tape to last October when the Eagles were reportedly interested in acquiring cornerback help. The one trade that kept garnering steam was a potential deal with the Detroit Lions for Darius Slay. The rumored asking price was at least a first-round pick, plus a proven player, to lure him into the nest.

In addition, the Eagles would have to work out a contract extension to make Slay the highest-paid cornerback in football. GM Howie Roseman wasn’t interested in surrendering that many assets and resources. Meanwhile, Detroit didn’t seem ready to move on from the man who led the NFL in interceptions in 2017.

Fast forward to February 2020 and Slay’s name is once again being linked to Philadelphia. According to ESPN fantasy writer Mike Clay, a “realistic offseason trade that helps both teams” would involve the Lions sending the three-time Pro-Bowler to the Eagles in exchange for Sidney Jones and a third-round pick.

It’s an interesting thought, one the Lions would probably never entertain. On face value, it would be a no-brainer for Roseman to pull the trigger. Until you factor in the gargantuan contract Slay has demanded, somewhere in the $80 million range.

Still, it’s a fun debate to have in a slow offseason. Here is what Clay wrote:

The Lions trade Darius Slay to the Eagles for Sidney Jones and a third-round pick. There were rumors Slay — one of the league’s better shadow corners — was available at the 2019 trade deadline, so perhaps he’ll be moved this offseason. Slay just turned 29 and is headed into the final year of his contract. Cornerback has been a disaster for Philadelphia in recent seasons, so moving Jones, 23, and a Day 2 pick for a top corner in Slay (whom they’d likely extend) makes sense.

Eagles Linked to 49ers Safety Jimmie Ward

Safety is another position of need for the Eagles, although much less publicized than cornerback. Remember, Malcolm Jenkins wants a pay raise (and might not get it in Philadelphia) while Rodney McLeod is a free agent. The Eagles have a conundrum in the secondary where they might have to turn over the whole unit.

One easy solution would be to spend money on a guy like San Francisco’s Jimmie Ward. The 28-year-old free safety is an unrestricted free agent and the 49ers likely don’t have enough cap space to retain his services. Ward, a first-round pick (30th overall) in 2014, would be looking for a two-year deal in the neighborhood of $8 million per season, per the Press Democrat.

Jenkins just turned 32 and McLeod will celebrate his 30th birthday in June. Not ideal for an Eagles team trying to get younger. Ward could provide a long-term solution at either free or strong safety. He started 13 games for the 49ers in 2019 — he replaced Tarvarius Moore at free safety in Week 4 —  and finished with 60 tackles and one sack. No interceptions.

According to 49ers beat writer Grant Cohn, the 49ers haven’t discussed a contract extension for Ward. Of course, teams aren’t allowed to start negotiating with players until March 18.

“I haven’t talked to anybody yet,” Ward said, via the Press Democrat. “I talked to my coach. My coach definitely said he wants to keep me here, but it’s not up to him. It’s further up, it’s upstairs.”

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