Based on comments made by Seahawks general manager John Schneider, who said this this week at the combine that his team won’t be using its franchise tag, it sounds as if cornerback Byron Maxwell will be allowed to reach the open market next month. And according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (Twitter link), “present word” in Indianapolis suggests the Eagles are the frontrunners to land Maxwell.
Plenty can – and likely will – change between now and the beginning of the free agent period on March 10, and it’s possible that the Seahawks and Maxwell will find common ground during the next two and a half weeks. However, if the former sixth-round pick is available next month, it makes sense that the Eagles would be among his top suitors. As PFR’s Rob DiRe noted when he previewed the Eagles’ offseason last week, addressing the cornerback position will be a priority for the club this winter, and Maxwell may be the best corner on the market.
If the Eagles do want to sign Maxwell, he won’t come cheaply. Despite having been a full-time starter for just one season, Maxwell’s per-year asking price figures to be in the $10MM+ range, as Pauline reported earlier today. It remains to be seen whether he’ll land that sort of deal, given his limited track record. However, plenty of teams figure to be targeting corners, and multiple free agents last year – including Sam Shields, Aqib Talib, and Vontae Davis – signed contracts worth $9MM+ annually; the cap also looks poised to rise by about 8% for 2015.
Elsewhere on the Eagles’ front, Martin Frank of The News Journal hears from a source that cornerback Cary Williams has about a “50/50” chance of returning to Philadelphia for 2015. Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com has a similar assessment, tweeting that the Eagles and Williams haven’t discussed his future yet, but adding that that doesn’t mean he’s definitely gone. Williams is entering the final season of a three-year contract, and currently counts for $8.167MM against the team’s cap in ’15.