Eagles Notes: Cornerbacks, Maclin, Graham

The Eagles’ biggest problem last season was their vulnerability against opposing quarterbacks. Philadelphia’s defense allowed the second-most aerial yardage in the NFL in 2014, finished tied for 21st in interceptions, and ended up 20th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense rankings. The Eagles are expected to have just under $50MM in cap space to spend this offseason, and they’re likely to use at least a decent portion of that to upgrade a secondary that needs two new starting cornerbacks.

The Seahawks’ Byron Maxwell, whom many consider the best corner set to hit the free agent market Tuesday, has been linked to the Eagles recently. The 27-year-old further stoked the flames earlier this week when he said, according to Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com, that he would “definitely” consider signing with the Eagles. With that in mind, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer took a look at Maxwell’s body of work and wondered whether the Eagles would spend the $10MM to $12MM per annum that the four-year veteran is seeking. McLane brought up multiple concerns surrounding Maxwell, including the fact that he has just 17 career starts and was supported in Seattle by three elite defensive backs – Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. However, McLane also made mention of the positives Maxwell brings, notably his coverage skills, size (6-foot-1, 207 pounds), range and versatility.

Regardless of whether the Eagles ultimately sign Maxwell, they’re going to be busy during free agency as they work to improve their secondary and other aspects of their roster. Here’s more on what the coming days could bring for Philly:

  • Zach Berman, also of the Philadelphia Inquirer, examined Maxwell and other possible free agent corner options for the Eagles. Berman highlighted Antonio Cromartie, Davon House, Kareem Jackson, Chris Culliver and Brandon Flowers as potential targets.
  • Geoff Mosher and Reuben Frank continued the defensive back theme in wondering whether the Eagles should pursue Jimmy Wilson, who has spent his first four seasons in the league with the Dolphins. Neither Mosher nor Frank endorsed adding Wilson as anything more than a backup.
  • Two of the Eagles’ top players – star receiver Jeremy Maclin and linebacker Brandon Graham – are both scheduled to hit the market Tuesday, and can start negotiating with other teams Saturday. Unsurprisingly, the Eagles are expected to face “stiff competition” to sign Maclin, per Berman, if he makes it to free agency. Similarly, Graham will be in high demand and, according to Berman, could net a deal north of $40MM in total value and $20MM in guarantees.
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