After attempting to find a trade, the Eagles announced today they are releasing five-time Pro-Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, who will become an unrestricted free agent.
Eagles plan to release CB Darius Slay, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2023
This is a surprising development that has taken place over the last few days. Slay is coming off his second consecutive Pro-Bowl appearance with the Eagles and was a critical piece to the defense that helped them clinch a trip to the Super Bowl. Even at 32, he remains one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Pairing him with AJ Terrell, along with the newly acquired Jessie Bates III, would instantly give the Falcons a secondary filled with star power — a far cry from what they were in 2022.
The idea of adding Darius Slay to the back-end of the defense has to have crossed Terry Fontenot’s mind. The Falcons are turning a corner in the rebuild, aiming to be more competitive this year. They’ve filled many of their holes already this offseason, but they still need to find a high quality corner to play across from AJ Terrell. Combining him with Slay would instantly give the Falcons one of the top corner duos in the league, and the former Eagle seems to like the idea if his response to Hawks star point guard Trae Young is any indication.
Slay is a Georgia native and the fit would be seamless on the field. The only reason I find it unlikely is the timeline. Slay is 32 and was attempting to work out a contract extension with the Eagles before he was released. It’s likely he still wants to be paid like a top corner over the duration of his next deal, which he deserves.
That complicates things. Cornerbacks usually don’t continue Pro-Bowl play into their mid-30s. It’s likely Slay only has one or two more years left in the tank. The Falcons, while they will be improved in 2023, aren’t legitimate contenders. Paying an aging veteran top dollar for several years could handcuff them in the future.
If the price is right, I’m all for Slay coming home to Atlanta. He would be a great fit and give the Falcons defense an identity for the first time in a long time. I’m just not sure he’s looking for a short-term deal with a team that might not contend. At the very least, it’s worth a phone call.
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