Why the Philadelphia Eagles' cornerback anxiety might be overinflated

Some Eagles fans might be forgetting about a promising option already on the roster.

Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Eagles have a cornerback issue. No one paying attention should be arguing that point. Heading into this offseason, the position was a concern and that remains true after the first few weeks of free agency.

But there is a question as to how great a concern it should be.

If you take a a quick glance around NFL media, cornerback is one of the most glaring needs on the Eagles roster—which, let's be honest, is one of the NFL's deeper rosters, so a need here isn't the same as, say, a 'glaring need' for the Carolina Panthers. Still, there are sirens blaring and bells ringing around the corner position with 'Help Wanted' signs popping up everywhere.

Fear not. Help may be on the way.

Some Eagles fans might be forgetting about some promising options already on the roster.

There are good reasons for the concerns that many have. Darius Slay is the best of the bunch bit also firmly into his mid-thirties (34). James Bradberry, also over 30 years old, needs a bounce-back campaign to justify his high-dollar cap hit. Avonte Maddox couldn't stay healthy. He has been released, in part for being too expensive himself.

Some potential help can be found on the roster in the form of second-year corner Kelee Ringo. Eli Ricks and Josh Jobe also come with a decent amount of experience as young rotational corners who can compete for more playing time. But even if Slay staves off any age concerns for another year and Bradberry lives up to his deal in '24, the Eagles still need some help for both the present and the future.

While it doesn't do anything to solve the long-term woes (which can be addressed via the draft), the truth is that a savvy signing from last summer might help bridge the gap in the short term. If Howie Roseman's decision to sign Isaiah Rodgers works out (and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell removes him from the suspension list), the Eagles may enjoy a nice surprise in the form of another body in the secondary and on special teams.

Rodgers is a former sixth-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts from the 2020 NFL Draft. He played his college ball at UMass and climbed Indy's depth chart with impressive strides in his first few seasons to become a third-year starter in '22 after stealing Brandon Facyson's job. However, instead of enjoying a breakout campaign as a full-time starter in his contract season, things fell apart completely for Rodgers—much of which was his own fault.

At the tail end of the '22 season, Rodgers suffered a knee injury in a Week 16 game against the L.A. Chargers and was placed on injured reserve. From there, he made the stupid decision to bet on NFL games, including some of the Colts' games under a false name. That led to his suspension for the entire 2023 campaign. The Colts let him go and the Eagles decided to sign-and-stash the talented corner/return man last August.

Rodgers has a nose for the ball and came away with 3 interceptions during his sophomore season in the NFL after catching 11 INTs in college—and took back 3 for a touchdown. Last year he also recovered four fumbles and his instincts keep him around the ball on most plays.

Beyond the defensive help, Rodgers also provides the Eagles with a return candidate who has a nice body of work with 61 total kick returns to his credit at the NFL level including a 101-yard touchdown during his rookie year.

One player does not solve the Eagles' concerns in the secondary, but the fact that a young player like Rodgers is returning from suspension should give the Eagles another starting option in the mix. If Ringo isn't ready to make the leap or something goes awry with a veteran, the Eagles will likely have someone who can step in for the interim thanks to a smart low-risk gamble from last summer.