It’s only been one game. No drastic moves yet. Still, it’s always fun to take inventory around the league this time of year.
The Eagles struggled mightily to defend the pass Sunday against Washington. Chalk it up as first game jitters for a unit that didn’t get much preseason burn. Or maybe everyone undervalued just how good Jalen Mills was as he continues to rehab on the PUP list. Either way, the team could be in the market for an upgrade at the cornerback position.
The Eagles surrendered 380 yards to a Redskins receiving corps that was supposed to be at the bottom of the league. They started a 2019 third-round rookie, a 2018 seventh-round pick and a middling six-year veteran. Those guys — Terry McLaurin, Trey Quinn, Paul Richardson — came in with a combined seven years NFL experience. Six of those years from Richardson.
It’s way too early to panic. Besides, reinforcements are coming. Mills and Cre’Von LeBlanc are waiting in the wings. But let’s take a look at a few cornerbacks who might be available via free agency or trade.
Top 3 Cornerbacks Available to Eagles
1. Xavien Howard, Dolphins
Wishful thinking on this one. The Dolphins are in full-on firesale mode as the team has decided to tank this year. Several players have already voiced their desires to be traded before the Oct. 30 deadline. Howard was not one of those guys. In fact, the Miami Herald reported the cornerback wants to stay in Miami after inking a five-year extension this summer.
Howard, a second-round pick in 2016, is one of the best young corners in the NFL. He tied for the league lead in interceptions in 2018 with seven, with 12 passes defensed, en route to his first Pro Bowl. In 2017, Howard recorded four interceptions and 13 passes defensed. He is bonafide star and the Eagles would be foolish to not at least call Miami’s bluff. Maybe they could pry him away by sending Florida native Nelson Agholor down there.
2. Aaron Colvin, Free Agent
The Texans cut Colvin on Tuesday after a brutally bad game against the Saints. The six-year veteran gave up two third-quarter touchdowns, one to Taysom Hill and another to Tre’Quan Smith. Colvin was also in coverage on the play that netted enough yardage to set up that dramatic game-winning field goal. Not good.
However, Colvin’s bad night was probably an anomaly. The Texans handed the 27-year-old a four-year, $34 million contract in 2018 and expected him to anchor their secondary for a long time. He was part of that vaunted 2017 Jaguars defense and played alongside Jalen Ramsey. In six seasons, Colvin has 200 total tackles and 15 passes defensed. He still has potential. And he’s dirt cheap.
3. Janoris Jenkins, Giants
It’s extremely hard to get teams to trade within the division and Jenkins is an NFC East rival. But this may be a special circumstance. The Giants are in rebuild mode and aren’t competing for a championship this year, plus the team has committed draft picks to the cornerback positions, guys like first-rounder DeAndre Baker and sixth-rounder Corey Ballentine. Baker has already won a starting job and Ballentine was pushing Jenkins all camp. Why would they hold onto the 30-year-old?
Jenkins can still play, too. He is only three years removed from a Pro-Bowl season that saw him collect three interceptions, one forced fumble, 18 passes defensed, one sack and 49 total tackles. He’s a baller and good mentor for the younger players. In eight NFL seasons, Jenkins has 18 interceptions with 449 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s an absurd number of touchdowns. Eric Allen level. Jenkins led the league in that category two times (2012, 2017).
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