Darius Slay

AFC Rumors: Slay, Anderson, Browns

Not only were the Raiders in on just about every big-name free agent cornerback, they pursued a Darius Slay deal as well. In addition to offers for Byron Jones and Chris Harris, and what turned out to be a failed deal with Eli Apple, the Raiders kicked the tires on a Slay trade with the Lions, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. A trade target of multiple teams before the 2019 deadline, Slay ended up going to the Eagles for just third- and fifth-round picks. Of course, it also cost the Eagles $30MM fully guaranteed — third-most among corners.

The Raiders’ pursuit of 2020’s group of available corners points to them giving strong consideration to adding one with one of their two first-round picks, and Bair adds there is a “strong belief” corner is a high Raider priority entering the draft. As it stands now, Las Vegas is understaffed at the position.

Here is the latest from around the AFC:

  • For weeks, rumors of a JetsRobby Anderson reunion circulated. Anderson said the Jets wanted him back and that he wanted to stay. The team was reported to be eyeing an Anderson agreement — but only at a price. Anderson instead signed a two-year, $20MM Panthers deal. A report emerged this week about the four-year veteran turning down a four-year, $40MM Jets offer, but Anderson (via The Athletic’s Joseph Person, subscription required) denied such a proposal occurred. The Jets moved quickly to replace Anderson with Breshad Perriman for one year and $6MM. They will likely enter the draft with a big receiver need.
  • The Browns have shopped Olivier Vernon in trades and, as of late February, were not expected to pay him the $15.25MM salary he’s due in the final year of his contract. But a change of thinking may have occurred. The Browns are interested in Jadeveon Clowney, but unless that partnership happens, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer expects Vernon to be back with the Browns in 2020. The Browns still have Myles Garrett on his rookie deal, and Cabot adds that — be it Clowney or Vernon — they are willing to carry a big salary at defensive end next season. Vernon struggled during an injury-plagued 2019 in Cleveland, registering just 3.5 sacks and tallying 11 quarterback hits.
  • Bills GM Brandon Beane sidestepped a question centered around Stefon Diggs‘ satisfaction with his contract. On a $14.4MM-per-year deal, the Buffalo-bound wideout is the NFL’s 13th-highest-paid player at his position. Four years remain on the deal.

NFC Notes: Slay, Hurts, Cowboys, Bears

The Eagles were eyeing Darius Slay for a long time. In March, they finally got him for the cost of a third-round pick, a fifth-round pick, and a brand new three-year, $50MM deal. We heard all the way back in January that upgrading the secondary was a priority for Philly, and it looks like they could change their style of play a bit on defense. The Eagles traditionally play strictly zone under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, without a number one corner shadowing the opponent’s top receiver. Slay apparently wants to change that. “I love the challenge,” Slay said of shadowing during his introductory press call, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com.

I kind of ask for it a lot because the fact that I want the game on me, and I want to help win the game, and if the best route to go about it is me traveling with a guy, then I’ll do it,” he continued. “I’ve been doing it the past four or five years,” the former Lion explained, “and I’ve been very, very successful at it. If they need me to continue to do it, that’s what I’ll continue to do.” Most observers seemed to agree that the Mississippi State product’s play dropped off a little bit last season as he dealt with injury, but the Eagles’ new top corner rejected that assertion. “I had a great year, in my opinion,” Slay said of 2019. “I think I played freaking fantastic. … It was dang sure good enough to make a Pro Bowl third season in a row.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The Cowboys are still waiting to close an extension with starting quarterback Dak Prescott, and while those negotiations continue they’re apparently taking a look at some of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. Dallas owner Jerry Jones conducted a video interview with Oklahoma passer Jalen Hurts, via a post on the team’s Instagram page. The Cowboys’ post offers a cool behind the scenes look at what the pre-draft process is looking like for teams in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hurts is expected by many analysts to go off the board sometime in the second or third-round, which would be pretty early for the Cowboys to be taking a backup. If they do end up picking Hurts and still don’t have a deal done with Prescott, that would certainly raise a lot of eyebrows.
  • Yesterday we passed along word that the Bears were planning on using free agent acquisition Germain Ifedi at guard, and now we have the details on his contract. Ifedi got a $137.5K signing bonus and a $910K base salary on his one-year deal, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. We figured Ifedi didn’t get too much, but this is still pretty cheap for a 25-year-old with versatility who has started 60 games the past four seasons. A first-round pick of the Seahawks back in 2016, Ifedi became a full-time starter but always underwhelmed and never lived up to his draft status. He played both tackle and guard extensively for Seattle.
  • In case you missed it, the Seahawks may only be willing to pay between $13-15MM for Jadeveon Clowney.

Contract Details: Falcons, Ryan, Eagles, Slay

Earlier this week, the Falcons restructured deals with Matt Ryan and others to carve out a bit of extra breathing room. Today, we got some additional details on that adjustment, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Here’s the breakdown: Ryan’s base pay for 2020 will go down from $8MM to $1.05MM. Meanwhile, tackle Jake Matthews will see his base number trimmed from $10.55MM to $3.55MM. In both cases, the difference was converted to a signing bonus. In effect, it doesn’t change much for either player, but it does allow the Falcons to kick the can down the road and spend more this year.

Here are more deetz from around the NFL, with all links going to Twitter:

CB Rumors: Slay, Lions, Harris, Trufant

Speaking to WJR-AM in Detroit following his trade from the Lions to the Eagles, cornerback Darius Slay didn’t hold back on his substandard connection with Lions head coach Matt Patricia. Slay, who’d been in Detroit since 2013, said Patricia told him he shouldn’t have been working out with fellow corners like Richard Sherman and Aqib Talib because those players are “elite” while Slay is simply “good,” per Justin Rogers of the Detroit News (all Twitter links).

Slay also indicated his relationship with Patricia was “destroyed” in 2018, adding that he didn’t respect Patricia as a person. Clearly, the nature of Slay’s dissatisfaction played a large role in Detroit’s decision, but as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link), the Lions also had no interest in handing Slay another new deal after inking him to a four-year, $48MM extension in 2016. Philadelphia, meanwhile, gave Slay a three-year, $50MM pact after acquiring him.

Here’s more on the cornerback circuit:

  • Veteran cornerback Chris Harris says he turned down a three-year offer from the Raiders before inking a two-year, $20MM deal with the Chargers, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. Per Harris, he simply didn’t feel “comfortable” with the Raiders, and preferred to join a Chargers defense that already includes stalwarts like Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, and Derwin James. Harris, 30, also attracted interest from teams like the Saints, Jets, Eagles, and says he picked up “tons” of one-year offers before deciding on Los Angeles.
  • After losing Harris, the Broncos are looking into adding another cornerback, according to Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link). Denver acquired A.J. Bouye from the Jaguars earlier this month to pair with incumbent Bryce Callahan, but the club could still use another defensive back, either via free agency or the draft. Jimmy Smith, Logan Ryan, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and Ronald Darby are among the top corners still remaining on the open market.
  • The Falcons officially designated cornerback Desmond Trufant as a post-June 1 release. That move will allow Atlanta to spread Trufant’s dead money out over both the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Trufant, of course, has already found a new home, landing a two-year, $21MM deal with the Lions.

Lions To Trade Darius Slay To Eagles

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The Lions and Eagles have reached agreement on a trade that will send cornerback Darius Slay to Philly, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Eagles will send a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to the Lions and give Slay the lucrative new contract he has been seeking. 

The two sides discussed a possible trade prior to the deadline last season, but were unable to come to terms. Talks picked up steam on Wednesday, as Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) noted.

The Eagles will give Slay a three-year, $50MM contract extension with $30MM guaranteed, according to Rapoport (Twitter link). The new deal places Slay at the top of the cornerback market; the salary is commensurate with his talent, unlike his previous deal. Slay outperformed his four-year, $48MM contract as the market advanced and he was unhappy about the prospect of playing out that final year.

Slay, 29, notched 46 tackles and two interceptions last year en route to his third straight Pro Bowl. The advanced metrics weren’t high on his work, but he’s fared much better in previous seasons. In 2018, for example, Slay ranked 23rd among 112 eligible CBs. And, in 2017, he graded out as one of PFF’s best as he hauled in a league-leading eight interceptions.

The deal leaves the Lions with a major hole to fill, but their reloaded draft stockpile should help. The deal will bring them the Nos. 85 and 166 overall picks in the draft and they now own five of the top 85 picks. Their first pick comes at No. 3 overall and they could stretch their ammo even further by trading down.

Way back on Monday, March 16th (it’s been a long week), Byron Jones became the league’s highest-paid cornerback by signing a five-year, $82.5MM deal with the Dolphins. That mantle now belongs to Slay, who clocks in with an average annual value of $16.67MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions: Everything On Table For Darius Slay

The Lions have had “good conversations” with Darius Slay‘s camp, but their saga is far from settled. When speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Lions GM Bob Quinn explained that all scenarios are being considered when it comes to the cornerback. 

[We’re] trying to explore a trade. That’s not saying we are definitely trading him,” Quinn said (Twitter link via Chris Burke of The Athletic). “We’re very much in the information-gathering phase of this.”

Quinn noted that a trade isn’t an automatic if a contract extension can’t be reached. Slay still has one more year to go on his four-year, $48MM deal, so the Lions could simply allow him to play out 2020. Still, Slay is slated to earn just $10MM in 2020 and it doesn’t seem like he’d be a happy camper under those terms. Given his performance, Slay is probably looking for something around the $15MM/year mark.

If the Lions aren’t willing to pay that price, many other teams will be. And, in recent days, several players from rival teams have taken to social media to try and court the Pro Bowler. That includes Rams standout Jalen Ramsey (Twitter link), who is daydreaming about forming one of the NFL’s most intimidating secondary duos. Meanwhile, Slay is taking a laissez-faire approach to all of the rumors.

Whatever happens, happens,” Slay told ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein recently. “I’m here to play ball.”

It’s a business so it should be looked at as a business aspect of it. If it was up to me, I would love to be here my whole career,” Slay continued. “But one thing about a lot of stuff that comes, first is my family so I’ll do what’s best for my family, for them first and put my family in great position to never have to want for nothing. So that’s my goal, and if that’s being here, I’m here. If it ain’t, then I ain’t.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Lions’ Darius Slay

Darius Slay‘s future in Detroit is still less-than-certain, but there’s cause for at least a little bit of hope. Lions GM Bob Quinn says he’s having “good conversations” with the cornerback’s agent (Twitter link via Tori Petry of the team website). 

Nothing’s really past the finish line yet,” Quinn continued. “But we’re hoping to get a few things done here in the next week or so.”

Earlier this week, the Lions opened up the phone lines to discuss trades involving the Pro Bowler. Multiple teams have interest – it’s not clear which teams have been in talks with the Lions, though the Eagles and Broncos are both probable suitors. According to one source who spoke with Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post, it might take a second- or third-round pick (not to mention a whopping new deal) for the Broncos to pry him away. Slay, who has been at odds with the team in the past, reportedly wouldn’t mind a fresh start.

Slay has one year to go on his four-year, $48MM deal with Detroit.Thanks to Slay’s front-loading, he’s slated to earn just $10MM in 2020. On his next deal, he could command approximately $15MM per year; the Lions are concerned about concentrating too much of their capital with the 29-year-old, but plenty of other clubs would be willing to hit that mark.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Cam, Robinson, Slay, Olsen

We’ve got more details on Greg Robinson‘s recent arrest. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero passes along (via Twitter) that the offensive lineman was busted with approximately 157 pounds of marijuana.

Robinson was arrested alongside former NFL wideout Quan Bray, who served as a return man for the Colts between 2015 and 2017. If the duo is convicted of possession with intent to distribute, they could each face up to 20 years in federal prison. The two were traveling with a third passenger, who was not arrested (although Robinson reportedly tried to bribe the passenger to take the fall).

The soon-to-be-free agent re-signed with the Browns on a one-year, $7MM deal before the 2019 season. Robinson struggled throughout the campaign, and he temporarily lost his starting gig. We learned earlier today that Cleveland won’t be pursuing another contract with the former second-overall pick.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Teams will be allowed to do their research on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton before committing to a trade. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes that a team can give a physical to a potential trade acquisition (with the permission of the incumbent team). Considering the former MVP has suffered a long list of injuries throughout his career, this will be an important hurdle to overcome during negotiations (especially, as Florio notes, if Newton is looking for a brand-new contract).
  • A league executive believes it’d take a second- or third-rounder to pry cornerback Darius Slay from the Lions (via Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post on Twitter). Of course, that same executive believes the three-time Pro Bowler will also command a contract that’s worth at least $15MM per season. We recently heard that teams have inquired on Slay, and the cornerback may be looking for a fresh start.
  • Whenever Greg Olsen retires, it sounds like he won’t struggle to find a new job. The veteran tight end had discussions with multiple networks regarding a “high-profile” television gig, reports Joe Person of The Athletic (via Twitter). Ultimately, the 13-year veteran decided to sign a one-year, $7MM deal with the Seahawks.
  • Nate Ebner has spent his entire career with the Patriots, and the special teams ace (and impending free agent) would like to stick with New England. “That would be the best thing, I think, when you consider my entire career has been here,” Ebner told reporters (via NESN’s Zack Cox on Twitter). “I’ve got some true friendships here. … But right now it’s out of my hands, so we’ll see what happens.” The former sixth-rounder has won three Super Bowls during his eight years in New England, and he also earned a second team All-Pro nod in 2016.

Latest On Lions’ Darius Slay

In the past, Darius Slay has expressed a desire to remain with the Lions – albeit, with a contract that reflects his true value. But, after two years of unfruitful extension talks, Slay would welcome a fresh start elsewhere, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter link) hears. 

Earlier this week, we learned that multiple clubs have reached out with interest in the Pro Bowl cornerback. The identities of those clubs are not yet known, but we can take some educated guesses on the suitors. The Eagles, who tried to swing a pre-deadline trade for Slay after whiffing on Jalen Ramsey, have a clear need for him. The Broncos, who could be on the verge of parting ways with pending free agent Chris Harris, would also make lots of sense. Ditto clubs for the Colts – who have the cap flexibility to give Slay the deal that he wants – and the Texans.

Slay has one year to go on his four-year, $48MM deal with Detroit. He’s slated to earn a base salary of $10MM this year, well below his true value. He’s not coming off of his best season, but he’s played as one of the league’s best cover men in the past. In 2017, he notched a league-leading eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed. It was near impossible to match those numbers in 2018, of course, but he still turned in a strong year with three picks and finished out as a top 25 cornerback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus’ metrics.

Beyond the dollar amounts, there could also be some hurt feelings between the Lions and their top cornerback. Last year, Slay was vocal about his displeasure with the club’s trade of Quandre Diggs. Later, when asked about the possibility of being traded himself, Slay said that he “personally wouldn’t care.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Discussing Darius Slay Trade

The Lions have spoken with multiple teams about trades involving cornerback Darius Slay, sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Other clubs believe that the Lions will ultimately wind up moving the Pro Bowler, Schefter hears, but the Lions are insistent on getting fair value in return. 

The Lions might not have much in the way of leverage. Slay is entering the final year of his contract and it appears that extension talks have stalled. Any team that acquires the Pro Bowler would have to cough up a significant amount of draft capital and give Slay a new deal that would reflect his place as one of the league’s top cornerbacks.

As it stands, Slay has one more year to go on his deal at $10MM. That’s well-below the going rate for a CB of his caliber – Slay is in position to ask for somewhere around $15MM over the course of a long-term pact.

Slay has expressed a desire to stay put, though he also wants to be appropriately compensated. Over the last year, the Lions have mulled the possibility of moving on from him, including a pre-deadline conversation with the Broncos about a blockbuster that would have sent Chris Harris Jr. to Detroit.

Before the deadline, the Eagles also made a serious push for Slay. Those talks did not result in a deal either, as the Lions held out for a whopper of a haul. It’s not clear exactly what the Lions were asking for, but it was enough to make the ever-aggressive Howie Roseman walk away, even after he lost out on Jalen Ramsey.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.