5 cornerbacks for Eagles to target in free agency


The Eagles are in a tricky salary cap situation as free agency approaches, so don’t expect them to make any big splashes.

With that in mind, for this series we’ll look at some cheaper options as the Eagles try to fill out their first roster under Nick Sirianni. Free agency begins on March 17 and the legal tampering window opens March 15.

Today we’ll look at cornerbacks.

The Eagles have Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox under contract for the 2021 season but they still need some improvements at the position and Nickell Robey-Coleman will be heading for free agency. The Eagles might draft a cornerback in an early round in April, but there are some decent options in free agency too:

Xavier Rhodes

Rhodes is 30 so he doesn’t really fit into the overall trend for the Eagles, which should be getting younger. But the connection to Eagles new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is too much to overlook. Not only was Gannon credited for getting Rhodes to Indy but he was also credited for getting Rhodes to play at a high level again like he had during their time together in Minnesota. Not sure what it would cost and not even sure if it would make a ton of sense but the Eagles need to upgrade the position and Rhodes would do that.

Brian Poole

The Eagles should let Robey-Coleman walk and maybe they plug Maddox into the nickel spot or maybe they re-sign Cre’Von LeBlanc. But what about signing Poole from the Jets? He’s played at a high level as a nickel corner and he’s coming off a season that ended after just nine games because of injury, so his price might be lower. Oh yeah, and in New York, he played under Eagles new defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson. The Jets might want to bring him back but that’s not a slam dunk with a new coaching staff there.

Mackensie Alexander

Alexander was a second-round pick out of Clemson back in 2016 and played under Gannon in Minnesota for the first two years of his career. Alexander played the 2020 season in Cincinnati on a one-year deal, playing in 13 games and starting 10. It was the most games he’s started in his career. At 5-10, Alexander is still best suited for the nickel, which is where he played over 80% of his snaps last season.

Gareon Conley

Conley (6-0, 190) has been a disappointment since he was drafted at No. 24 out of Ohio State back in the 2017 draft. After spending the first two-plus years with the Raiders, Conley was traded to the Texans during the 2019 season. He missed the entire 2020 season with injury. The Texans declined his fifth-year option so Conley will be an unrestricted free agent when the 2021 league year begins. If the Eagles get him for the right price he could be a low-risk, high-reward signing. We know he has some talent. While the Eagles can’t load up their roster with these players, it’s a way to bargain shop during an offseason where they don’t have cap space.

Ahkello Witherspoon

Witherspoon was one of my favorite players in the 2017 draft. The Colorado product went to the 49ers in the third round and he just finished out his rookie contract in San Francisco. During his time with the Niners, Witherspoon has had an up-and-down career but has played in 47 games with 33 starts. At 6-3, 195, he has good speed and tested really favorably at the combine several years ago. Like Conley, Witherspoon is still a young player with potential who wouldn’t cost a whole lot. Given the Eagles’ lack of cap space, that’s a trend with these free agent pieces.

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