Eagles ‘Impactful’ Playmaker Gives Update on Contract Talks

Avonte Maddox

Getty Eagles CB Avonte Maddox celebrates an interceptions against the Raiders in 2021.

Darius Slay routinely talks about mentoring the young cornerbacks on the roster. One of the first guys he got chummy with when the Philadelphia Eagles acquired him was Avonte Maddox. That relationship seems to be paying huge dividends after their first 24 games together.

Maddox is the second-best cornerback on the roster, via Pro Football Focus, and the ninth-best at his position in the entire NFL. He has one interception, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, and 38 tackles in eight games. The starting nickel corner owns a 75.1 overall grade, just 3.5 points below Slay.

Want further proof? Rewind the tape on his punch-out last week that led to Slay’s touchdown. Or his tip-ball drill for an interception against the Raiders. Or his beautiful mid-air swat on a potential touchdown for Robby Anderson in Week 5. Maddox has been phenomenal this season.

“He’s been a guy who has been constantly improving year to year,” safety Rodney McLeod said. “And I think right now he’s playing at a very high level. He understands his role on this team and so he’s mastered it, man. You see how he approaches practice and the way he prepares. We put a lot on him at the nickel position. He’s handled it well and shown up in a lot of games for us and is going to continue to make impactful plays for us as the season goes on.”

McLeod was throwing “roses” at Maddox prior to Thursday’s practice when the man of the hour appeared in the back of the media tent. Maddox was all smiles and a bit humbled by the defensive captain’s words.

“I say I’m playing pretty well, [the best] for the four seasons for sure,” Maddox said. “But I know that I can do better. There’s always little things that you can work on and little things you can see yourself fixing on the field or even if it’s in the film room. So I’m definitely playing really well but I feel like I can play better.”

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Maddox Due For Contract Extension

Maddox is in the final year of his four-year rookie deal. That means the 25-year-old will be a free agent after the 2021 season. Pretty good timing to turn in a career year, right? Maddox is on pace to smash career highs in interceptions, tackles, pass breakups.

His two forced fumbles are already a new personal record. The Eagles might want to get him to the negotiating table before those numbers go up. There’s been no contract talks so far.

“No, I haven’t mentioned anything with them or they haven’t talked to me about anything,” Maddox said. “That’s not anything I’m even worrying about, so me playing well, that will settle out everything. Hopefully, we make it to the playoffs on this run with me playing my best ball. Just enjoying this year with the guys in the room that’s really big to me.”

It took four seasons for Maddox to get comfortable. He credited new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon for putting him in the right spots. Overall, the speed of the pro game has been the hardest thing to adjust to.

“It’s kind of like being in college, you know everything’s moving fast and I’m learning as I go,” Maddox said. “By my fourth year, I was seeing and repeating. You start seeing those repetitive things and you start getting the feel of the game a lot more.”

Defensive Backs Room Getting ‘Tight’

The Eagles now have 13 defensive backs: nine cornerbacks, four safeties (excluding practice squad bodies). They might need to order a few extra chairs if the team keeps stock-piling young talent. The latest guy to get a key code was Kary Vincent Jr. who came over from Denver at the trade deadline.

“It’s getting tight in there, man,” McLeod said. “I think that just keeps all of us hungry, to be honest. It’s a production business, man. That’s the hard part about this business and about this game, you have to prove yourself each and every day and each and every week. When you see guys coming into the room, that makes the rest of us elevate our game even more, just understanding how this business works.”

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