Eagles Get Darby Back on 1-Year Deal
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles have re-signed cornerback Ronald Darby to a one-year deal.
There was some concern that the talented Darby would cash in on the open market due to a shaky cornerback class in free agency and he visited Kansas City earlier this week but concerns over his injury history, which cost Darby large parts of both the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Eagles, brought the price down and kept Philadelphia involved.
The Eagles were able to land Darby, 25, on a prove-it deal for $8.5 million, according to an NFL source.
A former second-round pick by Buffalo, Darby was originally acquired by the Eagles in training camp before the 2017 season for Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick.
He is highly-regarded by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and will be penciled in as a starter at right corner, likely opposite another Schwartz favorite Jalen Mills. From there the Eagles hope third-year CBs Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas can push for playing time outside while Avonte Maddox and Cre'Von LeBlanc handle the slot duties.
Both Darby [knee] and Mills [foot] are coming off injuries that short-circuited their 2018 seasons in November. For Darby a torn ACL not only affected his ability to get the big-money, multi-year deal in free agency, it will also limit his offseason work with Week 1 being the ultimate goal.
"I’m doing real good. I’m hitting my marks. I’m getting stronger. I’m jumping. Running in the RTG. Everything feels good," Darby recently told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. "... I’m going to be ready by Week 1, so that’s the goal. Back by Week 1 and that’s what I’m headed to."
From Darby's perspective, the lack of an offseason due to the rehab process would have made it difficult to assimilate to a new defense quickly so by returning to Philadelphia where he already understands the landscape and what Schwartz wants will enable him to hit free agency again in 2020 at 26.
In theory, if Darby holds up for 16 games or at least near it and proves the ACL is in the rear-view mirror, the really big money on a multi-year deal will be there.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen