If the Eagles need CB help, there’s only one name they should call

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 14: Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman is pictured prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles are in a sticky situation when it comes to their secondary. Avonte Maddox is likely out for the year and his backup, Zech McPhearson, is also out for the season. That leaves a gaping hole in the slot, but not according to Nick Sirianni.

The Eagles’ Head Coach was quick to double down on the in-house options available to him when asked about the nickel spot on Monday, preaching the benefit of cross-training players. But while that is a great way to view the setback, it’s not without its own flaws.

If the Eagles are going to move anyone inside to replace Maddox, it’s likely going to be All-Pro CB James Bradberry. The former Giants CB spent time working at the nickel over the Summer and feels like the most logical candidate to move to the slot given that the Eagles have some rangy corners at their disposal on the outside.

GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 12: Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry (24) warms up during Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

There’s just one issue though…

The Eagles have a tough decision to make

Moving James Bradberry to the slot is great in premise, but it means that an inexperienced corner is going to be left on an island facing Z receivers. That man could be Josh Jobe, or it might even be rookie Kelee Ringo. Whoever it is, the Mountain to climb would be monumental.

  • Jaylen Waddle
  • Chris Godwin
  • Jahan Dotson
  • Brandon Cooks
  • Gabe Davis
  • Allan Lazard

These are just some of the WR2’s the replacement corner would be facing over the remainder of the season. When the Eagles had a weakness against the Vikings, T.J Hockenson and Jordan Addison targeted the soft spot and had great success doing so. Opposing offenses will have no hesitation in moving someone like CeeDee Lamb around to cause unfavourable matchups for inexperienced corners.

For that reason, it’s imperative that the team finds a replacement nickel for Avonte Maddox…and there’s one man who ticks every box.

Bryce Callahan

There may be no better fit for a short-term nickel corner replacement than Bryce Callahan. He most recently spent time with the Chargers where he compiled 47 tackles, 3 picks, and 6 passes defensed along with a 64.2 PFF grade. He’s not the most intimidating slot corner in the world, but in a free agent pool consisting of aging talents who lost a step when last seen on an NFL field, he’s certainly the outlier with a recent resume that impresses.

The real secret sauce here though is that the 31-year-old has spent a total of 6 years playing under Vic Fangio – 2 in Denver and 4 in Chicago. The Eagles have a real affinity for Fangio and new defensive coordinator Sean Desai preaches what Fangio teaches.

Sean Desai eagles
CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 21: Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai looks on during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills on August 21, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Desai has familiarity with Callahan from when the two overlapped in Chicago and many of the principles will be similar to what Callahan was familiar with during his time as a Bear.

This isn’t to say that the 6’3 corner is a home run hit who will become an Avonte Maddox-level player, but if the Eagles do want an external hire, Callahan will not only give them the most seamless transition, but afford Sean Desai the ability to keep James Bradberry, a premier boundary corner, to do what he does best and blanket those pesky Z receivers, without having to throw young corners into the fire – a mistake this team has made too many times before.

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire