NFL Rumors: Veteran CBs Available for Eagles in Free Agency

eli apple

Getty New Las Vegas Raiders CB Eli Apple.

One spot the Eagles would be wise to shore up is cornerback. The position was a revolving door in 2019, one that was usually open.

Philadelphia ranked 14th in the NFL in passing yards allowed last season after surrendering 241.6 yards per game. That number isn’t atrocious, right in the middle of the pack. But, the secondary gave up 27 touchdowns while picking up just 11 total interceptions. Their turnover ratio was a disappointing -3.

The Eagles looked for playmakers (read: interceptions) in free agency by trading for Pro-Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, but ended the search there. Instead, they will enter the 2020 campaign with Avonte Maddox and Sidney Jones competing for the other starting slot.

Rasul Douglas will mix in, with Cre’Von LeBlanc and Nickell Robey-Coleman manning the nickel corner spot. Despite the potential these players bring to the table, the team may want to add depth. Let’s investigate the open market.

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NFL Rumors: Eagles Top Options at Cornerback

Logan Ryan

The local kid (Berlin, NJ, about 30 minutes from Philly) has done little to deflate his stock since leaving New England in 2016. In fact, the 29-year-old cornerback has seen his production rise in Tennessee after recording 113 combined tackles and 18 pass breakups in 2019, both career highs. His four interceptions last year were the second-best total in his seven-year career. He’s also an effective and willing blitzer, traits that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz hold dear. So, what’s the issue? Well, Ryan has reportedly been unwilling to accept less than $10 million per year.

Prince Amukamara

He was a cap casualty of the Bears back in February in a move that saved them $9 million. Amukamara lacks the one measurable that people use to evaluate cornerbacks: interceptions, with just 10 career picks and zero in 2019. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. He was rarely targeted in Chicago with teams choosing to go after Kyle Fuller. Amukamara, who will turn 31 in June, has only given up 100 yards to an opposing receiver once since 2014.

Darqueze Dennard

Dennard’s deal with Jacksonville fell apart in late March after the sides couldn’t agree to the “final terms” of the contract. The former Bengals corner was seeking a three-year contract valued at $13.5 million, with $6 million guaranteed. That’s a cheap price for a guy who put up the 15th best coverage grade on 290 coverage snaps in 2019, per Pro Football Focus. However, Dennard has struggled with both consistency and durability. He also makes a living as a nickel corner and the Eagles have a ton of those.

Eli Apple

This is another player who saw his first deal in free agency get torn up when he and the Raiders couldn’t finalize terms. Apple’s one-year deal was worth $6 million per year, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Apple, who grew up in Philly and attended Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees, NJ, might be the most attractive option out there. The former first-round pick (10th overall in 2016) has been praised for his size (6-foot-1) and length (31 3/8 arms). He has three interceptions and 33 passes defensed in five years. He’s also very familiar with the NFC East having played for the New York Giants.

Jeremiah McKinnon

The Eagles released McKinnon last August after he signed a futures contract with the squad. There was just no room at the inn, plus the 26-year-old left a lot to be desired. He was beaten badly quite a few times in coverage. He had 11 tackles and two passes defensed in four preseason games. However, he went on to play for the XFL’s New York Guardians where he saw action in two games. He’s good friends with current Eagles corner Cre’Von LeBlanc and could be an intriguing camp body with good speed (4.47 seconds in the 40). The Eagles have been bringing former players back into the nest on the regular, too.

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