The Philadelphia Eagles just missed out on two of the top targets at one of their biggest positions of need.
The plot thickens. Those three words have been used in relation to both fictional and nonfiction prose on more than one occasion, but never has that termed held more weight to any fan of the Philadelphia Eagles than it does right now.
The plan was a simple one. One month ago, everything was written out as we would like, The Eagles would invest every available resource in landing a free agent to be, Byron Jones. Once that was done, they’d simply wait until the 21st pick of April’s NFL Draft. They’d select Henry Ruggs III, and voila! They would have immediately upgraded two of the weakest positions on their roster.
Then, Ruggs had to go and run a 4.2-second 40-yard dash. Now, the secret is out. There’s no way he’s falling all the way to 21 in the upcoming selection meeting after that.
Still, even with all of that being said, all hope wasn’t lost. Maybe the ‘Birds’ could wind up with Justin Jefferson instead of Ruggs. Heck, he ran a 4.4 in the 40, and he lit up the Oklahoma Sooners with all of those touchdowns. Everyone was calm. It’s all good they said. The plan wasn’t altered that much. Sign a corner. Draft a receiver. First thing’s first, just land Byron Jones, and we’ll all deal with the draft in a month or so.
Philly, we have a problem.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Jones is signing a massive deal with the Miami Dolphins, and that marriage will make him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. Yes, you read that correctly. The Dolphins don’t just beat the Eagles on the football field. They apparently beat them when it comes to landing big-name prospects.
That wouldn’t have been bad news if it would have stopped there, but the hits just wouldn’t stop coming. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, cornerback James Bradberry, seen by just about everybody as the second-best corner in this pool of free agents, is signing with one of Philly’s biggest rivals, the New York Giants.
Now instead of Bradberry being a potential ally, Philly has to find a wide receiver that he can’t cover. Outside of DeSean Jackson, it’s hard to imagine anyone on the current roster being able to beat him consistently. Somebody, find Howie Roseman and give him a big pat on the back. Philly just missed out on the two best cornerbacks available.
Remember when we were talking about the Eagles being a landing spot and one of those franchises everyone wanted to play for? It feels like that was nine years ago, doesn’t it? Sure, it’s only two guys (or three if you count Ruggs). Sure, the offseason is just getting started, but to be totally honest, these are two major misses for a team that has $40 million to spend. We’ll have to wait and see what comes next. The plot is definitely a thick one now.