Eagles news: Updates on Philly’s secondary overshadow Selection Sunday

Darius Slay #2, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Darius Slay #2, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

You have to be having a ball if you’re a sports fan. The options are endless. Baseball, basketball, and hockey are all in full swing. Why don’t we just officially announce that we’re canceling any semblance of a Philadelphia Eagles‘ offseason while we’re at it? Seriously, are there any breaks in pro football anymore?

Following an interesting NFL Scouting Combine, there hasn’t been a day where we haven’t discussed the Birds for one reason or another. This past week, Philly’s brass informed Darius Slay’s agent that he’s free to seek a trade. Shortly thereafter, news broke that franchise legend Brandon Graham will return for his 14th season, all of which have been played in midnight green.

Span the sports globe, and you can be entertained by spring training as the Philadelphia Phillies get a look at the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. There’s also the 76ers. They have a nice streak going.

The Flyers fired general manager Chuck Fletcher and promoted franchise great Danny Briere to the interim job this week as well, but as is often the case, the Eagles trump everything. They’re on our minds as the free agency frenzy nears.

Eagles news: Who needs Selection Sunday when we can talk about C.J. Gardner-Johnson and James Bradberry?

There’s nothing like the Philadelphia sports fan. Selection Sunday should have dominated the headlines and given us plenty to discuss, but that took a backseat to updates we saw on Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Hames Bradberry.

Rumors that he might be franchised ended when the NFL’s deadline to slap tags on players came and went with Philly doing nothing. That led most of us to believe James and C.J.’s tenures in Philly would be of the one-and-done variety, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Sunday that sources around the league are hearing conversations that the Eagles have made a strong effort to keep Gardner-Johnson in the fold.

Hours later, Bradberry told NFL Insider Josina Anderson that he’s heard interest from the Eagles that they’re interested in bringing him back into the fold next season. Here’s a look at both reports.

Stay tuned. There are no definite answers yet, but Gardner-Johnson has quickly become a fan favorite. You can expect we’ll hear more about this.

More Eagles news: Darius Slay wants to retire an Eagle, and one of his best friends on the team hopes he gets his wish.

We mentioned the Eagles’ decision to allow Darius Slay the freedom to seek a trade earlier. Everyone seemingly has an opinion. Some would rather see him move on. Others disagree.

Theories like the following from Eliot Schorr-Parks and DeVonta Smith echo the thoughts of quite a few Birds fans.

Since the news broke, Slay has made it clear that he didn’t request a trade and that he’d like to end his career in Philadelphia as a member of the Eagles franchise. On his weekly Big Play Slay Podcast on Colin Cowherd’s The Volume network, he put all of those theories to rest.

"I just want my fans to know, Slay did not ask to be traded, but this is part of the business. There’s no bad blood against neither one of us, me or (general manager) Howie (Roseman). None of that. We all good. Great understanding, just the business part of it. A lot of guys go up for trade, you know, it got a lot of money involved in this situation. It’s nothing big. Nothing too serious, man. It’s part of the business."

Slay has racked up 166 total tackles, seven interceptions, and three defensive touchdowns in three seasons with the Eagles, but he most certainly knows things can change.

"I do want to finish my career as an Eagle but we’ll see. We be looking forward to it, man. (I) got time here, but best believe I do want to be an Eagle. But, if my job requires me to go elsewhere, then I’ll go. …I got a lot of years left in this game and I love this game, man. So, it’s only right for me to finish off strong."

Slay counts as a $26.1 million cap hit in 2023. He also represents $26.2 million in dead cap dollars. The Birds could use that money to make other signings if both sides were to move on.

It seems unlikely that he’d be dealt before free agency’s frenzy or the NFL Draft. Stranger things have happened though. Keep an eye on this as we inch toward the new league year.