Could Ronald Darby be on the Move?
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Another day, another rumor concerning the Philadelphia Eagles.
A day after playing Howie Roseman's press secretary concerning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen was at it again, appearing on a Philadelphia-area radio station to float the idea that the Eagles could be shipping a defensive back in order to garner a third-round pick in the upcoming draft.
Currently, the Eagles have the 32nd overall pick in the first round and are not scheduled to select again until the fourth round.
Although Mortensen did not clarify cornerback or safety he did mention the presence of Sidney Jones is behind the Eagles' thinking, which obviously points toward CB.
Jones, a top-15 talent in the 2017 draft, fell to the Eagles in the second round after tearing his Achilles at his pro day. He essentially redshirted his rookie campaign, returning in the meaningless Week 17 finale against Dallas for a cameo but nothing more.
Clearly, Jones has the talent to develop into a starter on the outside early in his career and that's certainly Philadelphia's hope. In that scenario, Ronald Darby, who was acquired before last season from Buffalo in the Jordan Matthews trade, is likely the one most likely to be peddled.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz loves Jalen Mills while second-year player Rasul Douglas is an ascending player under team control for three more years. Moving Darby would also help the Eagles hold onto slot corner Patrick Robinson, something that the team wants to do might have trouble with due to salary-cap issues and multiple suitors (Arizona, Oakland, and the New York Giants).
Darby, meanwhile, is set to enter the final year of his rookie deal in 2018 and while only set to make just over a million this season, he would be in line for a rather large payday next year and Philadelphia may not want to pay big money for a talented but up and down corner considering the depth and youth they have at the position.
With the new league year just over a week away the Eagles are nearly $10 million over the salary cap.
Darby suffered a dislocated ankle in Week 1 against Washington last season but was back by Week 11 in Dallas and regained his starting job, albeit moving from left corner to right corner, through the Eagles' Super Bowl run.
ProFootballFocus.com graded him as the 23rd best CB in football Philadelphia's best outside the numbers (Mills was No. 60 and Douglas was 87th). Robinson, however, was No. 6 overall playing from the slot.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen