Should the Falcons inquire about Darius Slay?

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It’s the busiest time of the year in the NFL. We’ve seen several marquee names released over the last few days, and other superstars are being made available for trade. One of the biggest names that could be on the move is five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, who has been granted permission to seek a trade by the Eagles.

At 32-years-old, Darius Slay remains one of the best in the business at the corner position. He’s coming off his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance and was a leader on one of the best defenses in the NFL.

The Falcons need help at all levels defensively, especially in the secondary. Casey Hayward is a candidate to be cut, but even if Atlanta decides to keep him, Slay would be a significant upgrade. Pairing him with AJ Terrell would give the Falcons one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL, and more than anything, they would finally have an identity on defense, something they’ve been lacking for years.

The issue with Slay is his contract situation. He only has one year left on his deal and comes with a cap hit of $26 million. That’s more than palatable for a player of his caliber, but the reason the Eagles are willing to shop him is because Slay is looking for an extension. The two sides were not making any progress towards a new deal, which is why they granted his request to seek a trade.

That complicates things. As good as Darius Slay has been over the years, he’s a 32-year-old corner. There aren’t many players at his position that continue to produce at an elite level into their mid-30s. Slay will likely want to be paid like a top corner over the course of his next contract. He deserves it for his play over the last several seasons, but there’s no telling how long he’ll be able to keep performing at that level.

The Falcons aren’t an elite corner away from competing for a Super Bowl. They need a lot more than that, so I don’t think giving up draft capital as well as handing Slay a brand new contract would be the smartest move. They could probably find much better value elsewhere, but don’t tell Cordarrelle Patterson — the Falcons honorary GM — that.

Photo: Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire

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