Darius Slay

Eagles Find their Shutdown Corner by Acquiring Darius Slay from Detroit

  • 2020 NFL Free Agency
  • Detroit Lions
  • Philadelphia Eagles
By Jereme Jones March 19, 2020 0 Comment
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Eagles acquire cornerback Darius Slay from Detroit for two draft picks and then sign him to a 3-year contract extension.

Yesterday, Darius Slay tweeted that he hoped the Lions’ signing of Desmond Trufant would help speed up the chances of him being traded.

Today, Slay got his wish. The Philadelphia Eagles have acquired the cornerback from the Detroit Lions in exchange for a third and a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft. According to reports, Slay will now sign a 3-year, $50 million contract extension with the Eagles.

Slay is in his seventh season in the NFL, all of which he has spent in Detroit. The Lions drafted him in the second round in 2013 from Mississippi State. He has played in 104 games, starting 94, for Detroit. In that time, he has 104 passes defended and 19 interceptions. Slay tied for the NFL lead in interceptions in 2017 with 6. He has been to three consecutive Pro Bowls and was named 1st Team All-Pro in 2017.

Slay is in the final year of his current contract, an extension he signed with Detroit in 2016. He made it clear to the Lions that he would be happy to stay with the Lions, but that his biggest priority is to get paid. The unhappiness over his contract situation has been going on since last season. Slay skipped offseason workouts last year. The Lions attempted to move Slay last fall at the trade deadline but were unable to make a deal.

Detroit may have been unwilling to re-sign Slay, especially with his high demands, due to his age and his performance last season. The 29-year old had the worst season of his seven-year career in 2019 according to Pro Football Focus, who graded him a 56.4. In 14 games last season, he had 13 passes defended and only 2 interceptions. However, he did struggle with hamstring issues last season which may have slowed him down. There are also a number of metrics which tell us that Slay still performed as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL last season. According to playerprofiler.com, Slay ranked 11th in the NFL in coverage rating and 16th in passer rating allowed. Many still consider Slay to be one of the best corners in the NFL.

It is obvious that the Eagles think Slay is still competing at a high level given the contract extension they are offering him.

With that kind of commitment, the Eagles will expect Slay to come in and play like a number one corner. And the Eagles will need him to play at that level to improve a secondary that really struggled last season. In 2019, the Eagles secondary gave up a number of big plays, including 27 touchdown passes. And that was before they declined the option of veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins. Prior to the Slay trade, the Eagles were looking at Avonte Maddox and Rasul Douglas as their starting corners. Slay not only becomes the best player in the secondary, but he also brings experience and leadership to the group.

This was an aggressive move for Howie Roseman, one with a lot of financial risk. But, if Slay is healthy and happy, he has a chance to be one of the best corners in the league over the course of this deal. If that’s the case, this deal will look like a steal and the Eagles will look like a playoff team.

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