NFL rumors: Eagles grant Darius Slay permission to seek a trade
Eagles reportedly grant Slay permission to seek a trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles have granted Darius Slay’s request to seek a trade according to a published report as the two sides try to find common ground regarding Slay’s contract.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini, quoting unnamed sources, tweeted Friday morning that the Eagles have granted Slay’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, permission to seek a trade but added that the Eagles hope to resolve the issue and keep Slay in an Eagles uniform.
Soon after Russini’s tweet, NFL Network’s Albert Breer tweeted that Slay did not request a trade but that this is simply a part of negotiating.
The final year of Slay’s three-year, $50 million contract extension from when the Eagles acquired him from the Lions three years ago this week includes $17.5 million in salary and a $26.1 million cap figure.
Slay doesn’t want to go into the final year of his deal without future security, and the Eagles would ideally like to lower Slay’s cap figure but without making too much of a commitment to a player who’s 32 and whose best days are probably behind him.
How realistic is a trade? According to OverTheCap, a trade before June 1 would give the Eagles $22 million in dead money while clearing only $3.7 million in cap space.
Slay is an interesting case because although he made another Pro Bowl after the season, his play did drop off dramatically in the second half of the season.
According to analytics on Stathead, opposing quarterbacks had a 37.2 passer rating when targeting Slay the first eight games of the season, which was 2nd-lowest in the NFL during that span – behind only teammate James Bradberry’s 35.9 rating.
But the last 12 games, including the postseason, that number rose to 134.4 – which was 2nd-worst among all NFL cornerbacks, ahead of only the Panthers’ Keith Taylor.
Slay had three interceptions last year but none in his last 14 games. He had eight pass deflections the first seven games of the season but only seven the last 13 games.
The Eagles aren’t generally in the business of giving huge contract extensions to players who are Slay’s age – he turned 32 on New Year’s Day – but the situation is complicated by Bradberry, who is an unrestricted free agent and not expected back with the Eagles next year.
It’s understandable that Slay doesn’t want to go into the 2023 season with a contract beyond 2023, but the Eagles don’t have a ton of salary cap space to start redoing contracts either. Especially for players who are 32.
Beyond Slay and Bradberry and slot corner Avonte Maddox, the Eagles have only guys like Zech McPhearson, Josh Jobe, Mario Goodrich, Josiah Scott and Andre Chachere under contract.
Slay said on his podcast just a few days ago how excited he was to start working with Desai, who replaced Jonathan Gannon as Eagles defensive coordinator.
“I can’t wait to meet the new DC, man,” Slay said. “Because I’m gonna tell you, knowing the new DC, it can be tough or it can be easy. You know what I’m saying? And I’m one of them guys that’s going to make it easy for him.
“I’m going to go in here, willing to learn, willing to figure out how he wants his defense ran. Because me being a leader and a captain on this team, that’s my job to do, make sure everyone is buying into the program.”
Slay’s $16.7 million average salary is still 10th-highest among cornerbacks three years after he signed it, according to Spotrac. His $17.5 million salary in 2023 is 3rd-highest in the league, behind only the Browns’ Denzel Ward [$23.0 million] and the Dolphins’ Xavien Howard [$18.25 million].