Just hours after the Eagles decided to release Darius Slay, the five-time Pro Bowl cornerback announced that he’s staying with the Eagles.
“Back like I never left!!! Run it back," Slay tweeted late Wednesday night.
Slay's wife Jennifer, who is very active on social media, tweeted, “WE HERE BABY,” with a heart and three Eagles emojis.
Slay’s return is the culmination of a wild 12 hours in which Slay’s tenure with the Eagles appeared over, he issued an emotional farewell on social media (“Nothing but love Philly!! Let’s see where we heading next”), several of his teammates expressed their disappointment in the turn of events, talks between the Eagles and Slay somehow rekindled – which was first reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark - and Slay now returns for a fourth season in Philly.
Jeff McLane of the Inquirer tweeted Wednesday night that Slay's reworked contract does not include new money and will actually help the Eagles clear out much-needed cap space, a strong sign that the restructure is much closer to what the Eagles were offering than what Slay initially wanted.
Slay and the Eagles appeared to have hit a contract impasse earlier in the day, with the Eagles looking to reduce Slay’s $26.1 million cap hit and Slay looking for security beyond the 2023 season. But the Eagles never did actually release him, so they retained his exclusive negotiating rights.
The several days of drama began when Slay’s agent requested and was granted permission to seek a trade, which was largely seen as a means of establishing Slay’s value on the open market. But when word came out that the Eagles planned to release Slay instead of trading him, it was hard to imagine the two sides reconciling.
Had the Eagles cut the popular veteran, they would have cleared $17 million in cap space on June 1, but they would have had to carry his entire $26.1 million cap hit until then. That would have left them with $8.6 million in dead money in 2023 and $13.8 million in 2024.
Slay had another Pro Bowl season in 2022, although his play dropped off somewhat the second half of the season, and at 32 he’s at an age where cornerbacks often begin to regress.
Slay has 26 career interceptions and two pick-6’s. He has seven INTs in three years with the Eagles. His 26 INTs are 12th-most among active players.
With second-team all-pro James Bradberry agreeing to terms of a three-year deal with the Eagles earlier Wednesday, it now appears the Eagles will have both their star cornerbacks back in 2023 when it appeared at one point they might not have either one.
The Eagles also agreed to terms of a one-year deal with Fletcher Cox earlier Wednesday. Earlier in the week, we learned Jason Kelce would be back in 2023, and Brandon Graham signed a one-year deal. That’s four Pro Bowlers – all over 30 – returning to the Eagles as well as one all-pro who turns 30 in August.