The Philadelphia Eagles enter the new league year with a glaring weakness at the cornerback position. After releasing starting cornerback Leodis Mckelvin last month, the move left the Eagles with Jalen Mills as the only returning healthy CB who has played more then a couple NFL snaps. The Eagles will look to upgrade the position whether it is in free agency or next months, NFL Draft. On Tuesday at noon NFL teams were allowed to start contacting players representatives.
The hottest name on the free agent cornerback market is former Texans CB A.J. Bouye. A couple of hours after noon on Tuesday Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ Advanced Media reported that the Eagles are pursing the former Texans corner.
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) March 7, 2017
This upcoming season will be Bouye’s fifth season in the National Football League. The 25 year-old, 6’0, 191 pound corner signed as an undrafted free agent with the Texans in May of 2013, after finishing his career at the University of Central Florida. Bouye finished the 2016 season as one of the best cover corners in the league, recording 63 tackles and tallying one interception. He checks off all the boxes that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is looking for, with good length and physicality. Schwartz notoriously leaves corners on islands against receivers, so Bouye, someone that is reliable in man-to-man with excellent coverage skills, should prove a snug fit.
Right now the Eagles only have $11.2 million in salary cap space, but that number is projected to grow in the next few days as more cuts and trades are expected. Many project Bouye will receive a contract that pays him up to $12 million a year this offseason, but the NFL salary cap is easy to wiggle around so if General manager Howie Roseman truly did want to bring Bouye to Philadelphia, he would definitely be able to when it comes to the salary cap situation.
When the news of the Eagles pursing Bouye broke a lot of fans quickly remembered the free agent signing disasters of Nnamdi Ashomugha and Byron Maxwell. Signing a player like Bouye would be much different, because the Eagles would be bringing in a player that fits the blitz-heavy scheme perfectly, and not just bringing in a big name player because he fills a need at the position. While the organization should learn not to repeat past mistakes, it would be premature to tag Bouye as a bust because other players who he did not have any control of failed in in Philly.
Whether the Eagles are a legitimate contender to land the top free agent cornerback on the market remains to be seen, but money and salary cap restrictions should not play any outcome in him possibly coming to Philadelphia. Bouye seems to be exactly what DC Jim Schwartz is looking for in a cornerback, so it seems like it will come down to his asking price and whether it is worth it for Howie Roseman to pull the trigger on the deal and start off the 2017 league year with a splash.
Photo: Jeff Baell (via: Wikimedia Commons)