Welcome to the chaos, ladies sand gentlemen. The NFL Legal tampering window has officially opened, giving teams a chance to pip the free agency post and begin negotiating with players ahead of the period officially opening on Wednesday at 4PM. For the Eagles, it now becomes a race against time.
It’s a well-known fact that the Eagles are said to be all-in on CB Byron Jones. We don’t need to dive into the reasons why that vary from his 53% completion percentage allowed when targeted, or his 6.8 yards per completion allowed because it’s already been hammered home. Jones is the perfect cornerback for this scheme because of how much he’s thrived under Rod Marinelli’s guidance.
The former first-round pick is built like a prototypical modern-day corner. At 6’1, 200 lbs, he’s rangy, fast, aggressive, and can hold his own on an Island. He’s missed one game in four years and has blossomed into a corner that Dallas can depend on. But just how intense is this race going to be?
For the Eagles, it comes down to one thing – Guaranteed money. Ever since the Byron Maxwell debacle, the Eagles have vigorously resisted paying cornerbacks (or any free agent). If Jones is going to be swayed to remain in the division, Howie is going to have to get out his checkbook.
This will all come down to a philosophical change. Typically, free agents signed to the Eagles take on prove-it contracts or deals that are cheap and cheerful. Jones should really become one of, if not the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. It’s enough to make Howie gulp in a moment of fear because the stakes could not be higher.
There’s one shot to land Byron Jones. If the Eagles fail, or the offer sheet is too low, or Howie just can’t bend enough to accommodate such a hefty contract, it’s game over. This isn’t a veteran coming off an injury. This is a do-or-die attempt to land the dream cornerback for this scheme and one of the best at his position in the NFL.
If the Eagles really have taken a step back and looked at how they value talent and ways in which they accumulate it, it will show within the next two days. If they rapidly fall out of the running, then Howie’s arms may just have been a bit too short to box with a real heavyweight this time around…putting even more pressure on the Draft. Which as we all know, has been an area of scrutiny in recent years.
The clock is ticking.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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