Eagles pull off trade for star cornerback Darius Slay

Eagles pull off trade for star cornerback Darius Slay

The Eagles finally have a real cornerback. 

The Eagles on Thursday morning went a long way toward answering their massive cornerback question when they acquired one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL and signed him to a massive new contract.

Three-time Pro Bowler Darius Slay, who has been campaigning to get out of Detroit, is now an Eagle. The trade was first reported by ESPN.

The Eagles shipped 2020 third- and fifth-round picks to the Lions for Slay, who turned 29 on New Year’s Day. The Eagles traded their own picks, Nos. 85 and 166, not their compensatory picks. 

NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro reports that Slay’s new deal is worth $50 million over three years, including $30 million in guarantees.

His average of $16.7 million per year makes Slay the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history, just ahead of Byron Jones, whose new deal with the Dolphins averages $16.5 million over five years.

He’s the fourth-highest-paid player on the Eagles, behind Carson Wentz ($32 million average), Lane Johnson ($18 million average) and Fletcher Cox ($17.1 million average).

Slay was originally a second-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2013, when the Lions' head coach was current Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. He has 19 interceptions since 2014. No Eagle cornerback has more than six interceptions during that same span.

Slay led the NFL with eight interceptions and 26 pass knockdowns during his all-pro 2017 season. He’s started 90 of a possible 96 games since 2014 and gives the Eagles their first legitimate star cornerback since Asante Samuel a decade ago.

After the Lions signed free agent cornerback Desmond Trufant on Wednesday, it seemed like a matter of time before the they shipped Slay.

The Eagles, desperate for play-making cornerbacks, were quiet in the first few days of free agency, while the top corners found new hopes, as NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro wrote.

But in Slay, the Eagles get a cornerback who might be a better option than any of the free agents on the market.

He sat out the Lions’ minicamps last offseason to protest the lack of a new contract but returned for training camp and played all 16 games, with 46 tackles, 13 pass knockdowns and two interceptions.

Slay immediately answers the Eagles’ biggest offseason need. The team resigned Jalen Mills, but he’s expected to play safety moving forward. The only other corners on the roster are Avonte Maddox, Cre’von LeBlanc, Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones.

The Eagles have had major cornerback issues for years. Some 15 different corners have started at least one game since Doug Pederson became head coach in 2016. The team in 2017 drafted Jones in the second round and Douglas in the third but by the end of last season neither was even in Jim Schwartz’s defensive rotation.

The Eagles allowed an NFL-high eight touchdown passes of 40 yards or more last year and 15 overall pass plays of at least 40 yards.

Much of the Eagles’ offseason so far has been devoted to a massive secondary restructure. 

Since free agency began on Monday, the Eagles have cut ties with three-time Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins, re-signed Mills to a one-year deal, re-signed safety Rodney McLeod to a two-year deal and now locked up Slay through 2022.

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Jeff Lurie's production company announces Hitler documentary

Jeff Lurie's production company announces Hitler documentary

The timing is a coincidence. But it's a fascinating coincidence.

On Thursday afternoon, just days after Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was condemned by the team for sharing "appalling" social media posts citing quotes he thought were from Hitler, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie’s new film production company announced the completion of a documentary, “The Meaning of Hitler.”

A release from Cinetic Media and Play/Action Pictures, a documentary film production company founded by Lurie, described the movie as “a provocative interrogation of our culture’s fascination with Hitler and Nazism set against the backdrop of the current rise of white supremacy, the normalization of antisemitism, and the weaponization of history itself.”

The movie has been in production for three years, the announcement of the film was planned several weeks ago, and the timing is a total coincidence. 

But the fact that Lurie, who is Jewish, has been working on this project for several years does give us an idea of how important this topic is to him and gives us a sense of how hurtful Jackson’s actions must have been to him.

The film is based on the award-winning 1978 book, “The Meaning of Hitler,” by Raimund Pretzel, who wrote under the pseudonym Sebastien Haffner. The book won several international awards, including the Wingate Literary Prize.

Lurie is listed as co-executive producer of the film along with Marie Therese Guirgis, who won the 2018 DuPont Award for Documentary Feature for On Her Shoulders.

Before he bought the Eagles in 1994, Lurie produced several movies, including Sweet Hearts Dance, I Love you to Death and V.I. Warshawksi. He’s won two Academy Awards - one as executive producer of Inside Job, which won Best Documentary in 2011, and another as executive producer of Inocente, which won Best Documentary Short Film in 2013.

According to the release from Lurie’s production company, the film took three years to produce and was filmed in nine countries. It was directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, who produced a series of acclaimed documentaries about the Iraqi war, and features contributions from numerous noted historians.

“As fears of authoritarianism and fascism now abound, the film explores the myths and misconceptions of our understanding of the past, and the difficult process of coming to terms with it at a time in our history when it seems more urgent than ever,” the release states.

“We couldn't be prouder that The Meaning of Hitler is the first completed film made by our new documentary production company, Play/Action Pictures,” Lurie said in a statement. “I envisioned Play/Action to be a leading creative force for films that engage with the most crucial and challenging issues of our time. The rise of white supremacy and neo-fascism in the United States and the world over are among the most important and serious threats we face today."

Lurie’s company is currently working on three other documentaries, including “Black Woodstock,” directed by Philly native Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson), an author, movie producer and drummer in the Roots.

The press release from Lurie’s production company does not mention Jackson.

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NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

Pro sports leagues are trying to find ways to safely play games and entertain fans amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is obviously a tough and tall task.

But the NFL's latest proposed measure missed the mark... completely.

The league is looking to ban the popular post-game jersey swap tradition, according to NFL.com, as a proposed safety measure:

Under proposed NFL-NFLPA game-day protocols, teams would be forbidden from interactions within six feet of each other following games, and jersey exchanges between players would be prohibited, per sources informed of the situation.

If you think that sounds like a total waste of a rule, after the teams are engaged in hand-to-hand action for three hours, you're not alone.

Why the NFL feels the need to distance players after allowing them to breathe, sweat, and bleed on each other during a game is unclear. The league didn't provide an explanation.

Probably because there isn't one.

These are uncharted waters for sports leagues, and mistakes will be made, but sometimes it helps to just use common sense.

A few Eagles players were quick to point out the seeming absurdity of the rule on Twitter:

And a couple other star players from around the league chimed in as well:

Interestingly, NFL.com's Kevin Patra included this qualifier at the end of his story about the ban:

The proposed protocols are set to be in effect during any preseason action, if agreed to. As are all things during the pandemic, they're subject to change as the science, data and situations develop.

That sounds like the league already setting itself up to change the rule down the line, considering the initial reception from players. 

We'll see if it lasts an entire season.

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