What Darius Slay Brings To The Eagles
After striking out on prized free agent Byron Jones, the Eagles were able to pry away Pro Bowl CB Darius Slay from the Detroit Lions. After parting with their own 3rd and 5th round picks in this year’s draft, they were able to ink Slay to a new extension worth $50M over 3 seasons ($30M guaranteed). His new contract makes him the highest-paid corner in the league at $16.6M annually.
A splash for Philly: The #Eagles are trading for #Lions star CB Darius Slay, sources say, finishing off talks that first began around the trade deadline. As part of the deal, Slay receives a new contract that puts him among the highest-paid at his position.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 19, 2020
Breaking Down The Numbers
Howie Roseman and the Eagles’ front office have made it clear that they intend to get younger, hence the departure of Jason Peters and Malcolm Jenkins. Acquiring the 29-year-old Slay, rather than paying Byron Jones at 27 years old, raised some skepticism in that regard. If you take a closer look at the contracts, the disparity isn’t as wide as you think:
- Turns 28 in Septemeber
- Contract: 5 years, $82.5M, $57M guaranteed ($40M paid over first 2 seasons)
- $16.5M annually
- Turned 29 in January
- Contract: 3 years, $50M, $30M guaranteed
- $16.6M annually
The Eagles were able to get the more productive corner at fewer years and far less guaranteed money. The two corners will be relatively the same age at the end of their new deals. To put how much of a steal this trade is into perspective:
What the Eagles gave up in the Darius Slay trade:
- 3rd & 5th round picks
- Still maintained 8 picks in the upcoming draft
- New contract extension in place
What the Rams gave up in the Jalen Ramsey trade:
- Two 1st round picks and a 4th round pick
- No new contract extension
- Can become a free agent next season, no 1st round pick until 2022
Right when it looked like Howie was sitting on his hands and letting all the top players go elsewhere, he makes another move that reminds us of why he’s one of the top GMs in the league. Back in the 2013 Draft, the Eagles were deciding between Zach Ertz and Darius Slay in the 2nd round. After selecting Ertz, Slay was the very next pick by Detroit.
Slay Brings Playmaking To The Eagles Defense
There hasn’t been a cornerback in Philadelphia nearly as productive as Slay since Asante Samuel dawned midnight green 8 years ago. Slay carries a pedigree with his name and the numbers speak for themselves. The Eagles dreadful pass defense in recent years has been well documented and Slay’s ability to shadow the opposing team’s top receiver will change that immediately.
In 2019, Slay allowed just 3 TDs on 93 targets in what some would call a down year. Eagles CBs have been routinely giving up 3 TDs in one game since 2013. He’s also had some success against Amari Cooper, who he’ll now be facing twice a year in the NFC East. He’s held Cooper to just 4 catches on 12 targets for 42 yards and 0 TDs. WRs that were covered by Slay last season only averaged 4 catches for 54 yards per game.
The one slight I kept hearing against Byron Jones was his lack of creating turnovers, only having two interceptions for his career. I didn’t put a ton of stock into those numbers as it’s difficult to create turnovers if QBs refuse to look your way. For those of you that need INTs from your corners, however, Slay has 19 of them for his career. He averages one interception for every 5 games played and is just 1 of 3 players to have multiple INTs in each of the last 6 seasons. Here is Slay’s production in the last 5 years compared to the other corners that were available:
- Chris Harris: 76 games, 40 pass breakups, 10 INTs
- Byron Jones: 79 games, 43 pass breakups, 2 INTs
- Desmond Trufant: 65 games, 46 pass breakups, 8 INTs
- AJ Bouye: 73 games, 56 pass breakups, 11 INTs
- Darius Slay (PHI): 74 games, 82 pass breakups, 17 INTs
The Eagles now have a true playmaker that they haven’t had at the position in some time. He hasn’t allowed a single reception of over 50 yards since 2014. The Eagles secondary allowed 15 of those plays in 2019 alone.
All 19 CAREER INTs from new @eagles CB Darius Slay!
— NFL (@NFL) March 19, 2020
Slay Has Respect Around The League
Some of the league’s top receivers and defensive backs recognize Slay as one of the elite corners in the game. The minute Slay was traded and received his new contract, NFL players and legends alike wasted no time congratulating him. These names include Calvin Johnson, Deion Sanders, and Stephon Gilmore amongst others.
— Deion Sanders (@DeionSanders) March 19, 2020
Slay opened up about his former coach in Detroit, Matt Patricia, soon after the trade. Patricia allegedly told Slay he had no business working out with the elite corners in the game and Slay was referred to as a “cancer.” Prior to this report, Slay has never been involved in any altercations and I have no worries about him as a player. With Malcolm Jenkins moving on to the Saints, it’ll be up to Slay to be one of the leaders in the locker room. I expect he’ll be a remarkable mentor to Sidney Jones and the rest of that young cornerback group. He’s also a pretty big fan of Carson Wentz.
You can add Darius Slay to the list of NFL players that are fans of Carson Wentz. pic.twitter.com/OQ2stfZV7n
— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) March 19, 2020