The Eagles Should Explore Trade Options For Ronald Darby
13 March 2018 Eagles News
Ronald Darby was acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2017 Preseason in exchange for a third round draft pick in the 2018 draft and slot receiver, Jordan Matthews. When Darby was acquired, the Eagles were very desperate for a starting cornerback. Their number 1, Jalen Mills was coming off a very inconsistent rookie year and their number two was NFL journeyman, Patrick Robinson. The third and fourth corners were a very raw Rasul Douglas and an injured Sidney Jones. After the Eagles celebrated their first Super Bowl win and with the acquisition of Daryl Worley, that is no longer the case. The Eagles, who are now desperate for NFL Draft picks, should see what they could get in return for the 4th year corner.
Darby Is An Unrestricted Free Agent In 2019:
This is Ronald Darby’s contract year as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent next March. Next season, the Eagles have some tough decisions to make while preparing for QB Carson Wentz’s imminent payday. Brandon Graham is asking for an extension. Nelson Agholor will be due for an extension. Jordan Hicks and Jay Ajayi are both free agents and although they have injury concerns, both could provide much needed depth at their respective positions. Darby is just 24 years old and the former defensive rookie of the year candidate could have value around the league. With cornerbacks such as Brent Grimes, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Logan Ryan making over 10 million dollars per year, it is likely Ronald Darby receives just as much, if not more. The Eagles more than likely will not be able to take on that kind of contract.
The Eagles Have Depth Locked Down:
Ronald Darby is not under contract after 2018. Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, and Daryl Worley are all under rookie contracts for at least the next two seasons. Mills has been the Eagles number one corner for the last two seasons and it does not look like that is going to change. Sidney Jones was picked in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft and should be expected to compete to start on the outside this upcoming season. Rasul Douglas was a very raw prospect coming out of one season at West Virginia University, but he was proved competent when filling in for Darby last season. Finally, Daryl Worley has started 25 of a possible 32 games in his two years in Carolina. At 23 years old, even if moved to a third safety or backup corner to Jones and Mills, Worley is going to play football in Philadelphia in 2018.
Darby is still on his rookie deal for the next season and will be relatively cheap for a cornerback-needy team. As previously noted, Darby was acquired for a third round draft pick and receiver Jordan Matthews. Darby missed 8 games in 2017 with a broken ankle, so it is unknown whether his value will remain the same. Even with those games missed, Darby proved reliable in clutch situations with key interceptions vs the Giants and Raiders in weeks 15 and 16 respectively. Both of his interceptions were momentum changers and showed exactly why he was acquired. Darby also was asked to cover Julio Jones in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Jones was targeted 10 times with Darby in coverage and only caught 5 balls for 53 yards. That kind of play, in that kind of game, should have the Eagles asking for no less than a third-round draft pick for the 24 year old.
The Eagles Need Draft Picks:
Currently the Philadelphia Eagles have six draft picks in April’s draft. They have their first pick at 32 overall and do not pick again until pick number 130. After that wait, the Eagles pick again at 132, 169, and finally 206. Yes, they are the Super Bowl Champions. Yes, they are more than likely bringing back 21 out of 22 starters (counting Darby). But the Eagles are going to need depth. They could be losing their starting outside linebacker, Nigel Bradham. Their slot corner, Patrick Robinson, though rumored to be near a deal to return, may also depart. They are likely going to lose one of their best run defenders in Beau Allen. Running backs LaGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles are both free agents. Trey Burton is a goner and Brent Celek could be a cap casualty. Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, and Stefan Wisniewski are not getting any younger. This team needs depth. The cornerback position at the moment is now one of the stronger units on the team in terms of depth and Ronald Darby could garner a day 2 draft pick that the Eagles desperately need in order to continue building a powerhouse football team. Does Ronald Darby hold more value to the Philadelphia Eagles in his last year, than a potential third-round draft pick for the next 4 years? That is a question that will be answered by Howie Roseman prior to the NFL Draft in April.
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