With the 2019 Free Agency period approaching, many analysts are viewing Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby as the best corner available.
What would it it take for the Philadelphia Eagles to retain veteran cornerback, Ronald Darby? Apparently, his cost is shaping up to get very pricey this upcoming offseason. Whether the Eagles are in the market for a cornerback or not, it doesn’t seem like Darby is going to be in the plans for 2019. Some may argue that the Eagles have enough young guys at the position to develop. But others will say that they need more help, and they need it fast.
Well, I hate to break it to those who expect a new veteran corner to come into the facility this year, but Ronald Darby just might be the best cornerback available in the free agency pool. We know it’s hard to believe since Darby has had his fair share of struggles on the Eagles defense throughout the last two seasons (remember the double-moves?) But the most concerning factor about Darby would be his inability to stay healthy over the last two years.
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During week one of the 2017 regular season, Darby ended up dislocating his ankle and wouldn’t return until after the midseason bye week. He ended up finishing off the year and getting an entire offseason in with the Eagles, but Darby would struggle to finish out the entire 2018 season as well. Unfortunatley, Darby ended up suffering a torn ACL back in December, cutting his season short once again. Fortunatley, Darby enters the free agency market with four years of experience under his belt at the young age of 25.
Will teams break the bank for Ronald Darby?
"Darby offers consistency – he graded above 70.0 in three of his four seasons alongside a respectable 68.3 in 2016 – and upside with an overall grade that ranked 22nd out of 120 qualifiers in 2017. He has shown a knack for disrupting passes with 50 regular-season forced incompletions since entering the league, ranking 12th among all cornerbacks who have seen at least 100 targets over that span. Though coming off a torn ACL, Darby is likely the best free agent option available for cornerback-needy teams."
According to Pro Football Focus, Ronald Darby is the top free agent cornerback available. Experience, consistency, and youthfullness will be the key to locking in his future with a hefty long-term deal. Lockdown corners are hard to come by in the NFL.
That’s not to say that Darby is viewed as a shutdown defender, but he has the tools to become very successful under the right coach and system. There were questions about whether the Eagles should retain Darby for beyond 2018 or not throughout the year, but it looks like the young corner is out of the Eagles price range at this point.
Darby could potentially find himself signing a six-year deal that’s worth around $80 million, according to Spotrac. $13 million a year would be a huge salary jump from the initial $1.1 million that the Eagles were coughing up for him. Fortunatley for the Eagles, they have a few young guys who showed some promise. They will need to see a significant jump in progression for 2019 though to make the loss of Darby a little more forgetful.