Leodis McKelvin has been let go and Nolan Carroll, more or less a replacement-level cornerback, is an unrestricted free agent. The Eagles have really one NFL cornerback on the roster in Jalen Mills who will play in his second season in 2017.
After trading away Eric Rowe for a draft pick, the Eagles undoubtedly have an enormous need at cornerback. They’ll no doubt address it in April’s NFL draft, but there is still a big opening available for a veteran corner.
Here’s a brief look at seven corners who could make big impacts on the Eagles secondary if they are inked in March:
Stephon Gilmore (26-years-old, 48 tackles, 5 INT in 2016)
Want a ball hawk? Gilmore is your man. He has 14 interceptions over the last five NFL seasons and is young enough to be seeking his second NFL contract. Spotrac.com contemplates he will be worth over $13 million per season — a high price tag. He was the 10th overall pick in Buffalo and will be looking to get paid like one — but perhaps a discount could be in the cards for former coach Jim Schwartz, currently Philly’s defensive coordinator.
A.J. Bouye (25-years-old, 63 tackles, INT)
Bouye could be the cream of the crop, hailing from a dominating Texans defensive squad. He’ll be in high demand due to his age and his ability to shut down a wide receiver. The Eagles wouldn’t be wrong to offer him a big contract, but the have had a terrible track record offering big deals to free agent corners and the price could be very high.
Logan Ryan (26-years-old, 92 tackles FF, 2 INT)
Ryan seemingly came out of nowhere and was a very important piece of the Patriots’ defense as they won yet another Super Bowl this month. He still could return to New England but they have a lot of free agents to take care of. Ryan will command a contract somewhere in between the high and low end and would be a good fit in Philly.
Marcus Cooper (27-years-old, 69 tackles, 4 INT)
Cooper was a bit ofa sleeper heading into 2016, having never started more than six games in a season before starting 13 for Arizona. He’s a former seventh round pick and doesn’t have a long history of success like Gilmore, so he could be had for cheaper.
Darius Butler (30-years-old, 33 tackles, FF, 3 INT)
Butler has had a very solid nine-year NFL career and has had relative health. His veteran voice would be useful in the Eagles’ inexperienced locker room and he’s been able to create his share of turnovers during his career. At 30, he is more affordable, likely in the $4 millionrange.
Prince Amukamara(27-years-old, 49 tackles)
Eagles fans know Amukamara from the Giants. He’s solid, was a former first rounder and has a Super Bowl ring from his rookie season in New York. Due to his long history of playing corner, he’ll be worth at least seven figures per season.
Trumaine Johnson (27-years-old, 57 tackles, INT)
Johnson had seven interceptions in 2015 and has 16 over a five-year career. He earned more than $13 million last season in Los Angeles and will likely be looking for the same pay rate in 2017.