The line was drawn in the sand after Adoree Jackson canceled a scheduled meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. Instead, the talented free-agent cornerback liked what the New York Giants had to say and decided to sign on the dotted line.
Jackson, a former first-round pick in 2017, took a trip to New York on Sunday and never left the building. The team pulled out all the stops, too, as Logan Ryan flew into town to wine and dine the former Tennessee Titans standout. The 25-year-old inked a three-year, $39 million deal to play for the Giants, a price tag way too rich for the Eagles’ blood.
The Eagles were looking to add depth to a depleted secondary featuring starter Darius Slay and a bunch of question marks. Safety-cornerback hybrid Jalen Mills departed for the New England Patriots. Cre’Von LeBlanc remains available as an unrestricted free agent. And last year’s prized free-agent, nickel cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, was a one-and-done in Philly. The team has the following options rounding out the depth chart: Craig James, Lavert Hill, Kevon Seymour, Jameson Houston, Michael Jacquet.
“We’re looking to see what the fits will be,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman told reporters on March 18. “We’re looking for guys that we think fit our scheme, that we think fit our culture, and we think have an opportunity to be here as we kind of build this thing back. If there’s an opportunity to improve our team, we’re going to look at that. We’re continuing to do that. I would say if the fit’s right, we’ll do it.”
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Top Free-Agent Cornerbacks for Eagles
With Jackson out of the picture, the Eagles could turn their attention to a few other options in free agency. The organization restructured a bunch of contracts over the past month to get under the salary-cap threshold of $182.5 million. They actually have roughly $2.4 million in funds, per OverTheCap. Here are the best remaining players on the market:
Mackensie Alexander: The former Cincinnati Bengals corner has three interceptions and 27 pass breakups in 68 games. While he projects more as a nickel corner — also a position of need in Philly with LeBlanc and Robey-Coleman outgoing — Alexander has experience in new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s system having worked with him for two seasons in Minnesota. He was a second-round pick in 2016.
Josh Norman: The one-time All-Pro corner is nowhere near what he used to be (arguably the best in the NFL in 2015) but he somehow earned the 17th-best corner ranking (via Pro Football Focus) and outranked Pro Bowler Tre’Davious White (31) in 2020. Norman finished with one pick along with 24 tackles and four passes defended last year for the Buffalo Bills.
A.J. Bouye: The 29-year-old recently visited Las Vegas and Cincinnati and left without a contract. Bouye was released by the Denver Broncos in the offseason after one disappointing season. However, he was once one of the most talented cover cornerbacks in the league, cashing in on a $67.5 million contract in Jacksonville. Can he return to form? Maybe. He’s worth taking a look at on a cheap “prove-it” type of deal. He has 14 interceptions and 72 pass breakups in eight seasons.
Gareon Conley: A former first-round pick in 2017, the 25-year-old has great size (6-foot, 190 pounds) and decent speed (4.44 in the 40). The problem with Conley has just been failing to live up to the hype after less-than-stellar stints in Oakland and Houston. His best season came in 2018 when he recorded three interceptions and 15 passes defended. Conley would be a really affordable option for the Eagles who might be able to get him for the veteran minimum.
Brandon Graham Contract Revealed
It was reported last week that Brandon Graham was restructuring his deal to help alleviate the Eagles’ salary-cap issue. The explosive pass-rusher wants to stay and retire in Philadelphia, rebuild be damned.
The Eagles lowered Graham’s salary cap hit for the 2021 season from $17.928 million to $7.988 million, a cap savings of $9.94 million for this upcoming season, per NBC Sports Philadelphia. Here is how it happened:
The way the Eagles did this deal was by giving Graham a roster bonus of $9.825 million this year and an option bonus of $6.25 million in 2022. These amounts prorate over multiple years (this contract technically goes through 2026 with voidable years), limiting the cap hits in 2021 and 2022.
Graham also has workout bonuses of $100K in each of these next two seasons. So the total amount ($18.5M) comes from the roster bonus of $9.825M + the option bonus of $6.25M next year + the two base salaries + the two workout bonuses.
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