Patrick Robinson

No team has built a CB group quite like Eagles

No team has built a CB group quite like Eagles

For generations, the Eagles couldn't find one promising young cornerback. Now they have a whole stable of them.

And in the NFL, young means cheap.

The Eagles were able to allow 30-year-old Patrick Robinson to leave via free agency after an extraordinary season for five reasons: Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Ronald Darby and Daryl Worley.

To win consistently in the NFL, teams have to draft well because having a significant number of talented players on bargain-basement rookie contracts is the only realistic way for a contending team to stay under the salary cap.

The younger players essentially subsidize the high-priced stars.

And the Eagles' five young corners — Jones is 21, Douglas is 22, Worley and Mills are 23 and Darby just turned 24 — are all talented but most importantly, they're all still on their rookie contracts.

Jones, Douglas, Worley, Mills and Darby have a combined 2018 salary cap figure of $4,529,400.

Or less than Robinson's $5 million signing bonus with the Saints.

The Eagles drafted Jones and Douglas in the second and third rounds last year and Mills in the seventh round in 2016. Darby, who came to the Eagles last summer in the Jordan Matthews deal, was the Bills' second-round pick in 2015, and Worley, who the Eagles acquired last week from the Panthers in the Torrey Smith deal, was Carolina's third-round pick in 2016.

Here are the 2018 cap figures for the Eagles' five young corners:

$1,395,475 — Sidney Jones
$1,058,139 — Ronald Darby
$   756,572 — Rasul Douglas
$   670,000 — Daryl Worley
$   649,214 — Jalen Mills

Jones is the Eagles' highest-paid corner but only their 28th highest-paid player.

Darby's deal is up after this year. The Eagles have Mills and Worley under contract through 2019 and Jones and Douglas through 2020.

So they can stay cheap at corner for years.

According to Overthecap.com, the Eagles have the sixth-highest defensive payroll in the NFL but the third-lowest cornerback payroll, ahead of only the Packers and Colts.

The Eagles are devoting just 3.03 percent of their adjusted $177,714,409 salary cap to cornerbacks, per Spotrac.

Only the Colts (2.96 percent) are devoting a lower percentage of their 2018 cap to cornerbacks.

So the Eagles basically have young, cheap cornerbacks to offset the massive contracts they gave players like Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, Brandon Brooks, and Zach Ertz.

The Eagles actually have 11 players under contract who, by themselves, have a higher 2018 cap figure than all the Eagles' cornerbacks combined.

None of this works if the young corners can't play. But Mills had a breakthrough season for the Super Bowl champs, Darby proved to be a speedy playmaker (although a bit inconsistent) when healthy, Douglas was solid while Darby was hurt and Jones could be the best of all.

Worley is the new guy and said Monday he can play anywhere — inside, outside, safety — and that's the key. All these corners are versatile, which gives Jim Schwartz (and Howie Roseman) a lot of flexibility.

How will they all line up next year? Too early to say, but it's easy to envision a scenario where Darby and Jones are outside, Mills is in the slot, Worley is the backup to all three spots and Douglas converts to safety, where the Eagles have little depth.

Or the Eagles could dangle Darby — whose contract is up after 2018 — and try to recoup a missing third-round pick.

And get even younger and cheaper.

Eagles lose Patrick Robinson, Beau Allen in free agency

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Eagles lose Patrick Robinson, Beau Allen in free agency

Patrick Robinson was so bad during training camp last summer, there were plenty of people who thought he wasn’t even going to make it to the season. 

Then he became a huge part of the Eagles’ winning Super Bowl LII. 

And now he’s heading back to where his up-and-down career began. 

Robinson has agreed to terms of a four-year contract with the Saints, who drafted him in the first round of the 2010 draft, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Wednesday.

Rapoport also said the Eagles were close to a new contract with Robinson on Monday, but it never got hammered out. Earlier in the week, Rapoport said he expected the Eagles to get a deal done with the corner. 

Robinson, 30, came to the Eagles on a one-year prove-it deal and eventually, he proved that his career was far from over. At times during the 2017 season, he was the Eagles’ best cornerback. And his pick-six in the NFC Championship Game was one of the most important plays of the season. 

The big turning point during Robinson’s time with the Eagles came when the team traded for Ronald Darby. That move forced Robinson into the slot corner role and he shined. He tied a career-high with four interceptions in 2017. 

Earlier Wednesday, the Eagles brought back linebacker Nigel Bradham on a five-year deal, so it likely made it tougher to also re-sign Robinson. 

The good news for the Eagles is they have a stable of young cornerbacks they should feel confident in. Robinson’s moving on will mean more youth at the position that includes Jalen Mills, Darby, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas. 

Robinson is heading to New Orleans and defensive tackle Beau Allen is signing a deal with Tampa Bay, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud.

Allen said his farewells to Philadelphia on Wednesday after the Eagles agreed to a contract with former All-Pro Haloti Ngata (see story)

Eagles reportedly close to retaining another key player

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Eagles reportedly close to retaining another key player

It looks like Patrick Robinson won’t test the free-agent market after all. 

The Eagles are trying to keep the veteran cornerback and are expected to get a deal done with him on Monday morning, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport

The report says the Eagles are expected to retain Robinson before the legal tampering window opens at noon on Monday. 

Robinson, 30, joined the Eagles on a one-year deal in 2017 and after an inauspicious start in training camp, moved into the slot and became of of the Eagles’ key players during their Super Bowl season. It was Robinson’s pick-6 in the NFC Championship Game that really provided the big spark. 

It is unclear what the market would have held for a player who will turn 31 in September, but it looks like the Eagles aren’t interested in having Robinson find out. 

If Robinson does indeed come back, he’ll be the veteran with a group of young corners. The Eagles still have Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones and now Daryl Worley. It seems possible another trade could be on the way. 

While the legal tampering window opens at noon on Monday, free agency doesn’t begin until 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The Eagles have some work to do before then. They need to shed over $9.5 million in cap space before the new league year opens. It’s going to be a busy few days.