Darius Slay

Ravens Pursued CB Darius Slay

The Eagles were able to maintain both members of their starting corner tandem this offseason, despite a tight financial situation and a number of defensive starters departing in free agency. That included bringing back Darius Slay on a new deal, but the veteran would have had the opportunity to head to the AFC North had Philadelphia allowed him to leave.

The Ravens had “significant interest” in signing Slay, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (subscription required). That comes as little surprise on a number of fronts, given the five-time Pro Bowler’s pedigree and Baltimore’s need at the position. Slay was slated to hit the open market after he and the Eagles failed to agree to terms on a restructure to his existing contract. One day after it was reported he would be released, however, Slay inked a two-year deal to remain with the NFC champions.

In that brief window of opportunity, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post confirms that Baltimore made a “concerted effort” to sign Slay. The 32-year-old would have been reunited with Dennard Wilson, who left the Eagles this offseason to become the Ravens’ new secondary coach. The latter was in consideration for Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator vacancy, but the team’s decision to look outside the organization led to his departure.

Slay himself confirmed that he nearly signed with the Ravens. “I was almost — this close — a Baltimore Raven,” Slay recently said on his Big Play Slay podcast (via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). Slay added that Baltimore offered him the money that he was seeking, but his preference was to remain with the Eagles. Because he and Philadelphia were able to work out the financials, he got his wish.

Slay enjoyed a highly productive season in 2022, earning a Pro Bowl nod for the second straight season. He totaled three interceptions and 14 pass deflections last year, putting up strong coverage numbers along the way. That would have made him an attractive option to not only the Ravens, but any number of other potential suitors in need of an addition at the CB spot. Baltimore certainly fits that description at the moment, however.

The Ravens have Marlon Humphrey on the books through 2026, but fellow starter Marcus Peters is a free agent. The latter missed all of 2021 with a torn ACL, and struggled this past season upon his return to the field. Given his downturn in production (Peters recorded only one interception, the lowest single-season total of his career), a deal worth much less than the three-year, $42MM one he played on upon arrival in Baltimore should be expected this time around.

Assuming he gets it from a new team, Peters’ departure would leave the Ravens in need of a starting-caliber boundary corner. Slay certainly would have fit that bill, but Baltimore is now tasked with either retaining Peters or looking elsewhere in free agency and/or the draft if they need to replace him.

CB Darius Slay Staying With Eagles, Signs Extension

Darius Slay is staying in Philadelphia after all. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Eagles have agreed to a new deal with the cornerback. It’s a two-year extension that will keep Slay in Philly through the 2025 season.

[RELATED: CB Darius Slay Staying In Philadelphia?]

Reports yesterday indicated that Slay was set to be released by the Eagles, mostly due to his lofty $26.1MM cap number. This reported transaction followed negotiations between the two sides on a new contract, and the front office also shopped the cornerback to CB-needy teams. Slay himself tweeted about his impending release, a move that would have opened $17.5MM in cap space but left $13MM in 2024 dead cap.

Not even 12 hours later, we heard the Eagles were having second thoughts about releasing the veteran. Reports indicated that the Eagles were having a “hard time” moving on from Slay and were hoping the two sides could come to some kind of compromise. Soon after, Slay took to Twitter and hinted that he may be returning to the Eagles after all.

Now, the new contract has been agreed to, keeping the defensive back with Philadelphia for the foreseeable future. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the three years on Slay’s contract (including the two new extension years) are worth $42MM, including $23MM in guaranteed money.

Philly gave Slay a three-year, $50MM extension upon trading for him three years ago, and Slay has produced during his time with the organization. Pro Football Focus graded Slay as its No. 21 overall corner last season, with the 32-year-old earning his second-straight Pro Bowl nod after compiling 55 tackles, three interceptions, and 14 passes defended.

The Eagles had to invest in the position this offseason when they inked James Bradberry to a sizable extension. This new contract was expected to end Slay’s tenure with the team, but instead, the secondary will only have to deal with the loss of starting safety Marcus Epps.

CB Darius Slay Staying In Philadelphia?

10:25pm: In the latest update to the Slay-scenario, the man himself has tweeted in reference to the situation. In the tweet, Slay claims to be “back like (he) never left” and asserts that he plans to “run it back” with the Eagles. Still, nothing appears to be official, but things are trending in a much different direction for the Pro Bowl cornerback’s chances of remaining in Philadelphia.

9:45pm: Not so fast. Slay’s tenure in Philadelphia may not be over, after all. Earlier this evening, Josina Anderson tweeted that the Eagles were having a “hard time” letting the cornerback go and were wishing they could keep him. Jeff Howe of The Athletic later tweeted that the Eagles were “working to find a way” to retain Slay, while ESPN’s Adam Schefter goes as far as to tweet that the defensive back is now expected to stay with the Eagles.

9:50am: The Eagles managed to bring back James Bradberry, but his partnership with Darius Slay will end up being a one-off. The defending NFC champs will move on from Slay after three seasons, Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets.

Mentioned in trade rumors, Slay will end up being released. The three-year Eagle confirmed the news on his own Twitter account. This will deplete a secondary that already lost safety starter Marcus Epps. The Eagles brought back Bradberry, giving the eighth-year veteran a three-year deal, but their stacked 2022 defense has splintered during the legal tampering period.

Philly is designating Slay as a post-June 1 cut, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. This will save the Eagles $17.5MM, though $13MM in Slay dead money will transfer to the team’s 2024 cap sheet. Slay was set to carry an untenable 2023 cap number — $26.1MM, tops on the Eagles’ payroll — in the final year of his deal. Slay’s cap number ballooned to this place because the Eagles restructured his deal in 2021 and ’22.

Slay wound up in trade talks after he and the Eagles did not progress on renegotiations. The team’s efforts to do a restructure with Slay failed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, leading the Eagles to give him permission to seek a trade. Nothing materializing will push him to the open market Wednesday afternoon.

Although Slay is going into his age-32 season, he should fare well as a free agent. Traded to Philadelphia in 2020, this will be the former Detroit draftee’s first time on the market. He will be officially released when the 2023 league year begins at 3pm CT today.

Philly gave Slay a three-year, $50MM extension upon trading for him three years ago. The accomplished cover man’s rocky relationship with Matt Patricia — now an Eagles target as a position coach — helped lead him out of Detroit. Despite passing 30 in Philly, Slay has continued to be one of the NFL’s better cornerbacks. Pro Football Focus graded Slay as its No. 21 overall corner last season, when teamed with Bradberry to form one of the league’s best outside duos. Slay also allowed a 74.4 rating while in coverage in 2021. The Eagles will move forward with just one 30-something — Bradberry will turn 30 this offseason — at the position, however.

The Eagles faced the Chiefs with the NFL’s third-ranked defense, and although Jonathan Gannon‘s unit did not have a good night, it featured talent on all three levels. Free agency has cut into that collection. Epps, Javon Hargrave, T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White join Slay as Eagles starters who will not be part of the 2023 team. Fletcher Cox has not committed elsewhere yet, and the team has re-signed Brandon Graham.

Trade rumblings notwithstanding, Slay said he wanted to remain an Eagle for the rest of his career. But the 6-foot cover man said he will be prepared to play elsewhere. That time is coming, and Slay will be on track to join a third team soon. Cornerback-seeking teams that missed out on this year’s top options — Bradberry, Jamel Dean, Byron Murphy, Cameron Sutton — now have another option. Slay’s age would point him to a contender, but it remains to be seen what market will form for the 11th-year veteran.

Cowboys Considered Darius Slay As Trade Option

The Cowboys made a splash in their secondary today when they acquired former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. Before they acquired the cornerback from the Colts, Dallas pondered making a call to a division rival.

[RELATED: Colts To Trade Stephon Gilmore To Cowboys]

While an initial report indicated the Cowboys discussed Darius Slay with the Eagles, these proceedings might not have progressed that far. ESPN’s Todd Archer clarifies on Twitter that the Eagles did not reach out to Dallas, so the Cowboys were clearly sniffing around at CB options. But the team had Slay on the radar. Jane Slater of the NFL Network tweets that the Cowboys indeed kicked around the idea of acquiring Slay.

While the Cowboys could theoretically carve out enough room to afford a pair of pricey cornerbacks, there’s a better chance the two potential moves were mutually exclusive, meaning Dallas preferred Gilmore.

Slay was recently granted permission to seek a trade out of Philly. It’s uncertain which side opted for a divorce; there were reports that the Eagles wanted to keep the cornerback around and that Slay wanted to stay in Philadelphia. The most likely explanation is that the Eagles wanted Slay to take a pay cut, and both sides may be exhausting their options before the player gives in to a reduced contract or is cut.

One year remains on Slay’s Eagles extension, a three-year pact worth $50MM. The 11th-year veteran is attached to a $17MM base salary in 2023 and a lofty $26.1MM cap number thanks to restructures in 2021 and 2022. No guaranteed money remains on the deal. The team could open up $17.5MM in cap space by making Slay a post-June 1 cut.

Addressing the trade topic on his latest podcast, Slay said he still wants to finish his career with the Eagles. That said, he confirmed he will continue his career elsewhere if that is what the Eagles end up deciding. The team locked up James Bradberry earlier today.

I know what’s going on. I hear the rumors; I hear everything,” Slay said (h/t NBC Sports Philadelphia). “I see everything all over the globe, all over the internet and I just want my fans to know Slay did not ask to be traded. But this is part of the business. There’s no bad blood against neither one of us, me or Howie [Roseman]. None of that. We all good, great understanding. It’s just the business part of it. A lot of guys go up for trades, you know, they got a lot of money involved in this situation so it’s nothing big, nothing too serious. It’s just part of the business, man.

I do want to finish my career as an Eagle but we’ll see. We be looking forward to it, man. Got time here. But best believe, I do want to be an Eagle. But if my job requires me to go elsewhere, then I’ll go.”

Since joining the Eagles in 2020, the cornerback has earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods. This past season, Slay finished with 55 tackles, 14 passes defended, and three interceptions. He ended up landing at 21st among 118 qualifying cornerbacks in 2022, per Pro Football Focus…a considerable drop from his fourth-place finish in 2021 but a significant jump from his grades in 2019 and 2020. For comparison’s sake, Gilmore finished this past season as PFF’s ninth-best CB.

Eagles To Allow Darius Slay To Seek Trade

10:52am: Slay and the Eagles had been discussing a new contract, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (on Twitter). Those discussions not progressing led to the team permitting Slay to find a new home. With Slay having not requested a move, a resolution could still take place. But the chance Slay leaves Philadelphia after three seasons should be considered reasonable.

9:12am: The Eagles have three secondary starters days away from free agency. One of the two expected to return now does not appear a lock to be part of the team’s 2023 roster.

Darius Slay recently received permission to seek a trade, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets. The Eagles want to find a solution to keep Slay in town, Russini adds, but the standout cornerback will have a chance to be traded for a second time. The Eagles initially acquired Slay via trade from the Lions back in 2020.

It should be expected Slay is moved, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Slay did not ask to be traded, according to McLane, who adds the Eagles have likely approached the veteran cover man about a pay cut (Twitter links). Slay said recently he wanted an extension, but it is unclear if the team is willing to give him a second contract at this stage of his career.

One year remains on Slay’s Eagles extension, a three-year pact worth $50MM. The Eagles gave Slay that deal upon acquiring him. Slay, 32, has provided a tremendous boost to the NFC East team’s secondary, remaining one of the league’s best corners into his early 30s. The Eagles, however, have the 11th-year veteran on a high 2023 base salary ($17MM). In order to keep Slay, the team would almost certainly need to lower his cap number from its current $26.1MM place. Slay’s contract number reached this place as a result of restructures in 2021 and 2022. No guaranteed money remains on the deal.

A trade before June 1 would not make much financial sense for Philly. The team would be hit with $22MM-plus in dead money by moving Slay elsewhere before that pivotal date. A deal after June 1 would create $17.5MM in cap space — though, the team could not use any of the new funds until June.

The Eagles have been linked to hiring Matt Patricia as their linebackers coach. Slay and Patricia notoriously did not get along in Detroit. It would be incredibly odd to see a team prioritize a position coach over a productive player, so it should not be assumed that is a factor here. Patricia has not yet been hired, and the financial component will be the driver of a separation — if it ends up taking place.

The Eagles have James Bradberry, C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps unsigned for 2023. They have identified Gardner-Johnson as a player they want to keep. Howie Roseman‘s team is frequently making splashy acquisitions and sweeping roster changes. The Eagles’ defense may look quite different in 2023, with the likes of Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, Kyzir White and T.J. Edwards set to hit the market as well.

Eagles Eyeing Matt Patricia; Return To Patriots Still In Play?

Matt Patricia has not landed a job just yet, but it should be expected the veteran defensive coach (feat. a memorable 2022 on the offensive side) lands elsewhere in 2023, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes. Patricia has met with the Broncos, but Sean Payton pointed to new DC Vance Joseph needing to sign off on a hire.

The Eagles also have Patricia on their radar. Nick Sirianni is aiming to add a veteran staffer for the linebackers coach position vacated by Nick Rallis, and InsidetheBirds.com’s Adam Caplan notes the Patricia addition is “probably going to happen.” The defending NFC champions would place Patricia as a senior member of the staff if hired, noting Sirianni is prioritizing experience for this hire.

This would be an interesting fit, given the Patricia-Darius Slay relationship from the duo’s Lions days. Slay’s dislike for Patricia was bad enough it affected the cornerback’s performance, per Caplan, and the accomplished cover man said he and Patricia’s relationship was “destroyed” as early as 2018, the latter’s first season as Lions HC. Ahead of Patricia’s final year in Detroit, the Lions sent Slay to the Eagles for third- and fifth-round picks. A recent Slay tweet regarding a Patricia Philadelphia arrival pointed to animosity remaining. Although Patricia would not be coaching Slay in Philly, this reunion would certainly bring an awkward component into the Eagles’ defensive equation.

Patricia, however, has spoken with multiple teams about a role, Graziano adds. Patricia’s Patriots contract has expired, and his most recent New England arrangement did not come with much compensation from the Pats. The Lions still owing Patricia money — as part of his five-year contract — aided the Patriots in paying their versatile assistant, with Ben Volin of the Boston Globe describing the situation as the AFC East team not needing to pay an offensive coordinator last season.

Patricia ended up the de facto Pats OC in 2022. As most assumed, it did not go well. The longtime defensive coach and ex-Lions leader, however, did not want to serve in that role, per Volin, who notes Patricia ended up doing so as a favor to Bill Belichick. The Patriots boss wanted a coach he could trust at the helm on offense. The Pats had lost longtime OC Josh McDaniels, and rather than hire a true play-caller, Belichick took the unusual step of putting Patricia in that post. The Pats have since added another ex-staffer, Bill O’Brien, to serve in this capacity.

Patricia gained considerable experience during his second New England stay, playing the lead role on offense with an emphasis on the team’s O-line while working in a front office capacity at points as well. He is the rare modern NFL coach to call plays on both sides of the ball. Patricia seems poised to head to a third organization soon, though Volin adds a path back to New England should still be open due to he and Belichick remaining close. The Patriots have already filled their O-line coach post, hiring Adrian Klemm, while the Broncos have added both inside and outside linebackers coaches.

Latest On Giants WR Darius Slayton

Darius Slayton recently generated some interest around the NFL, but it sounds like he’ll be staying in New York for at least Week 1. Giants GM said the wide receiver will be on the team for the start of the season, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter).

[RELATED: Darius Slayton Generating Trade Interest]

Slayton never appeared to be in the long-term plans of the new Giants regime. The wideout was shopped before the draft, and he was buried on the depth chart by the time the Giants hit the practice field. Still, he managed to secure a roster spot, and for the time being, he’ll slide in behind Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, David Sills, and rookie second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson on the depth chart.

With Slayton appearing to be on the outs in New York, we heard recently that several teams had reached out to the Giants about a trade. While the 25-year-old is temporarily staying put, he could continue to be a popular name in trade chatter, especially if the Giants struggle. Slayton is due a $2.54MM base salary in 2022, a reasonable salary if a suitor has a role for him.

Slayton found himself in and out of the Giants starting lineup through his first three seasons in the NFL, but he’s shown flashes. Following a productive rookie campaign that saw him finish with 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns, Slayton followed that up with 50 catches for 751 yards in 2020. However, he took a step back in 2021, finishing with career-lows in receptions (26), receiving yards (339), and touchdowns (two).

Restructured Deals: Packers, Broncos, Bills, Patriots, Giants

As free agency continues, teams will keep finding ways to open up additional cap. We’ve had a handful of reworked contracts in recent days, which we’ve compiled below:

  • The Packers opened $10.15MM in cap space by restructuring the contracts of wideout Randall Cobb (which was previously reported) and safety Adrian Amos, per ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter). ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweets that Green Bay turned $5.88MM of Amos’ $7MM base salary into a signing bonus and added four void years.
  • The Broncos opened up some space via a pair of restructured deals. Wideout Tim Patrick converted $6.9MM of his roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating around $4.6MM in cap space, per Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (on Twitter). The Broncos also converted receiver Courtland Sutton‘s $10.5MM roster bonus into a signing bonus, saving $7.875MM in 2022 cap space, per Klis (on Twitter).
  • The Panthers converted $11.765MM of wideout Robby Anderson’s 2022 pay into a signing bonus, creating $5.88MM in cap space, per Yates (on Twitter). Staying in the NFC, Yates also tweets that the Eagles converted $14.88MM of cornerback Darius Slay’s salary into a signing bonus, creating $11.90MM in 2022 cap space.
  • The Giants converted $2.63MM of kicker Graham Gano’s salary into a bonus, creating $1.753MM in cap space, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter). The team also added a void year to the contract, something GM Joe Schoen was trying to avoid (per Raanan).
  • After getting traded to the Bills, quarterback Case Keenum agreed to rework his contract. Per Yates (on Twitter), Keenum reduced his base salary to $3.5MM. Another AFC East team, the Patriots, also got into the game, reducing defensive end Henry Anderson‘s base salary from $2.5MM to $1.25MM (per Yates).
  • Yates passes along three more restructures (on Twitter): the Vikings opened $6MM in cap space by reworking safety Harrison Smith‘s contract, the Bills opened $5.172MM via linebacker Matt Milano‘s contract, and the Titans opened $6.45MM via linebacker Zach Cunningham‘s contract.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Darius Slay Gives Eagles $9MM+ In Cap Room

The Eagles have an extra $9.14MM to work with this offseason, thanks to Darius Slay. The cornerback has agreed to a simple contract restructure, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Eagles Won’t Tender P Cameron Johnston]

Slay inked a three-year, $50MM extension with the Eagles shortly after last year’s blockbuster trade. With today’s move, Slay’s cap hits will grow over the course of the deal, which runs through 2023.

In 15 games last year, the 30-year-old notched 59 tackles, one interception, and six passes defensed. It wasn’t his strongest year, but it wasn’t a banner year for most on the Eagles’ defense either. In his final Lions season, Slay was a Pro Bowler for the third straight time. His best season to date came in 2017 when he came away with a league-high eight interceptions and an eye-popping 26 passes defensed.

The Eagles’ work is far from done — they’re still on track to be well over the 2021 salary cap, which will fall somewhere above $180MM.