It’s been a hectic 24 hours for Darius Slay after reports of a trade request flooded the internet. Does he really want to leave the Philadelphia Eagles? It’s a complicated situation, one that hinges on a potential contract extension, but the short answer is no. Slay took to Twitter to reassure everyone that his preference is to run it back.
Slay revealed his true feelings on March 10 when teammate DeVonta Smith demanded that he stop teasing an exit. Iron sharpens iron, and those two fast friends have taken their games to ridiculous levels while competing against each other at practice every day. They even switched positions at one point. Slay let Smith know that he wants to stay.
Meanwhile, Slay took umbrage to a reporter questioning his level of play on the field. Kendall Beck of All About the Birds called him a “declining 32-year-old CB” and Slay immediately fired back: “That boy said declining lol.” Several friends quickly jumped in to defend Slay, including Quandre Diggs, Javon Hargrave, Jaycee Horn, and Tony Jefferson.
Everything Slay has posted in the wake of his reported trade request has been overanalyzed. For example, he solicited for a tech guy to come to Houston and set up his man cave. The masses assumed he was trying to force a trade to Houston. No, Slay clarified, he has an offseason home down there. Nothing to see here, folks!
Howie Roseman, Darius Slay Exploring All Options
The idea of Slay actually being shipped off to another team is a far-fetched one. His cap hit and base salary aren’t attractive, especially when you factor in his advancing age. No disrespect. He is still an elite player, arguably the best at his position. But, after looking at the financials (Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski does a nice job breaking it down) and what someone would have to trade away to get Slay, it doesn’t seem realistic.
More appropriately, Slay’s agent — Drew Rosenhaus, go figure — wanted to request permission to seek a trade as an insurance policy should the Eagles decide not to extend him. Test the waters now and force a trade in 2024. It’s the smart move. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is no doubt doing his own due diligence.
Remember, the 2023 NFL draft boasts an abundance of riches at the cornerback position. Five plug-and-play starters could go off the board in the first round: Christian Gonzalez (Oregon), Devon Witherspoon (Illinois), Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State), Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State), and Deonte Banks (Maryland).
Throw on the Tape: Devon Witherspoon of Illinois
The Eagles would be wise to take a cornerback in the first round whether Slay leaves or not. They are going to lose fellow starter James Bradberry in free agency anyway. They’ll need a young stud who can start from Day 1. Or, at the very least, someone who can compete with Zech McPhearson at training camp.
The Draft Network’s Jamie Eisner has them targeting Devon Witherspoon at pick No. 10. And here’s why he makes sense:
Devon Witherspoon would be a great fit for the city of Philadelphia and for the NFL team that calls it home. Witherspoon is a tone-setter who isn’t afraid of the man-to-man spotlight. He can have success outside or inside and will allow the Eagles to keep a talented secondary on the field despite the number of free agents to be as we sit here pre-free agency.