Why haven’t the Eagles signed a free agent CB?

NFL: AUG 04 Arizona Cardinals Training Camp
GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 04: Arizona Cardinals cornerback Tay Gowan (32) celebrates a big play during Arizona Cardinals training camp on August 4, 2021 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)

As free agency rolls on, the Eagles appear to be slowing down. The signing of Hasaan Reddick was a big one, but there has been radio silence ever since. With the team needing some significant help in the secondary and so many suitable options out there, it begs the question as to why Howie Roseman is suddenly gun shy.

The big picture

If we look at the depth chart right now, the Eagles are clearly priming themselves for the long-term.

Darius Slay is coming off of a brilliant season and has two more years left on his recently restructured deal. The leader of the pack, is the veteran in the room and there may be no better player to learn from if you’re a younger DB.

In the nickel, the Eagles drafted Zech McPhearson in 2021 while Avonte Maddox was entering his contract year. Finally back in his specialized role, Maddox balled out and earned himself a contract extension. Unless the Eagles want to risk running McPhearson on the outside (as a smaller CB), he may be the primary backup behind Maddox in the slot for the time being. McPhearson did hold his own when dropped into the deep end last year, but he’s not the prototypical CB2.

That leads us to that very spot. Steven Nelson is searching for a payday (again) after a very solid 2021 campaign. He was a late addition to the Philadelphia roster but proved to be the ultimate bargain bin player.

It’s a CB2 the Eagles need…and that’s where things get tricky.

The Eagles have an interesting depth chart

The Eagles brought in a pair of rookie corners in Tay Gowan and Kary Vincent Jr last year through trades. They bring developmental upside to a position that is currently lacking it. Both players are surprisingly productive around the catch-point, with Gowan bringing the typical UCF wingspan to the table, and Vincent shining with 8 PBU’s and 4 picks for LSU in 2019. This shows a clear picture for what the Eagles want at CB2.

Will either of these players be starters next year? Probably not. However, they could be part of a bigger plan…

The draft picks

As we all know, the Eagles have three first-round picks for the 2022 NFL Draft and there are some exciting young corners who are going to be available. In fact, all of them should be.

Whether you’re a Derek Stingley Jr. truther, or a Sauce Gardner stan, this packed top-tier has a little bit of everything and there’s every chance that Howie has his eyes fixed on the talent coming out of college.

Think about it this way. The Eagles draft *insert corner here* who lines up at CB2 alongside Darius Slay.

Be it at the end of this year via trade, or next as a free agent, Slay departs Philadelphia and opens the doors for *drafted CB* to take over the CB1 role.

In that time, someone like Tay Gowan may well have taken the neccesary step to be given the CB2 role.

There’s a reason the Eagles traded for two young cornerbacks this past season. It’s easy to get drawn to the veterans like Patrick Peterson and Xavier Rhodes, but the youth infusion is the name of the game in Philadelphia and this path seems far more likely.

Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire

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