The clues were popping up everywhere, out in the open for everyone to see. Darius Slay wanted out of Detroit.
The Eagles needed a shutdown cornerback so they pulled off a blockbuster trade for Slay. The team acquired the 29-year-old in exchange for a third- and fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft. Part of the deal included restructuring Slay’s contract.
He wanted to be the highest-paid cornerback in football and now he is. Slay will earn $50 million over three years, roughly $16.7 million per year, including $30 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal eclipses the one Byron Jones inked with Miami earlier this week.
Philadelphia was stuck between a rock and a hard place after missing out on Jones and James Bradberry and Chris Harris Jr. Slay was no longer a luxury, he was a necessity. GM Howie Roseman caved in and pulled the trigger. In doing so, the Eagles didn’t give up a ton of capital but they did pay through the nose.
Deion Sanders Calls Slay ‘Grown Man’
Deion Sanders, arguably the greatest cornerback of all-time, loves Darius Slay. He had made several comments defending Slay in recent weeks and took to Twitter to congratulate him on the new contract and trade to Philadelphia.
As rumors swirled of Slay possibly leaving Detroit, Sanders kept hyping the cornerback up and advising they keep him.
“Yeah, he is (worth the extension),” Sanders told MLive last week at the Super Bowl. “He’s one of the best in the game, right? He’s a Pro Bowler, right? I think they should.”
The Lions didn’t listen and now he’s in Philadelphia where he’ll be paired with one of the following players: Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas or Cre’Von LeBlanc. Jalen Mills is expected to transition to safety.
Slay Had Down Year in 2019
The nay-sayers think the Eagles got fleeced in the blockbuster trade for Darius Slay. Are his best years behind him? He’s already 29 years old and will turn 30 on Jan. 1.
It could be a gamble. According to Pro Football Focus, Slay was the 83rd-best cornerback in football in 2019. He recorded a 56.4 coverage grade last year and has been around 77.0 or better in four of the past five seasons. Those numbers are a little hard to digest for a guy that just got handed a $50 million contract.
Then again, those figures don’t take into account Slay’s ability to take away the opposition’s top receiver in press coverage. He isn’t afraid to get dirty and man up, a bully on the outside who doesn’t allow separation. Slay has 104 pass breakups and 19 career interceptions in seven seasons, including the first pick Carson Wentz ever threw in 2016.
Yes, there are question marks around Slay but it was the right move for this team. Their secondary should be secure for the next three years.