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Despite report, 'long-term' deal for Robinson seems odd

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Despite report, 'long-term' deal for Robinson seems odd

Despite numerous factors pointing to Patrick Robinson’s departure, the Eagles have “begun talks” with the free-agent cornerback, according to a report.

Per Matt Lombardo for NJ.com, the Eagles have approached Robinson about a “long-term” contract, hoping to complete the deal before the veteran of eight seasons officially becomes a free agent.

The Eagles have exclusive negotiating rights with Robinson until March 12, when NFL teams can enter into contract talks with a free agent’s representation. Free agency officially opens March 14.

It’s not unusual for teams to approach their own free agents ahead of time, even in cases where an agreement seems unlikely. This might be one of those situations.

Robinson far exceeded expectations for the Eagles in 2017. Signed as a stopgap solution last offseason, the journeyman defensive back matched career highs with four interceptions and 18 pass breakups, and ranked 19th among qualifying corners with a 70.1 opponents’ passer rating in coverage, according to ProFootballFocus.

It was legitimately a performance worthy of Pro Bowl consideration. Still, the prospect of the Eagles' re-signing Robinson — particularly to a long-term deal — raises some questions.

Once considered the biggest weakness on the team, the Eagles suddenly have a logjam at cornerback. Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby are both under contract, while the club used second- and third-round draft picks on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas in last year’s draft.

The Eagles are also currently over the projected salary cap for 2018, so even if finding playing time for everybody wasn’t a concern, allocating more money to another cornerback would be.

Given his tremendous campaign and playoff run, attempting to re-sign Robinson at a discount should prove challenging, too. Though the thought of chasing another Super Bowl is no doubt appealing, he turns 31 in September, and this could be his last shot at a big payday.

Robinson’s age is yet another reason for the Eagles to proceed with caution. He managed to suit up and perform at a high level in all 19 games last season, but injuries and consistency have been issues throughout his career.

While it’s unclear how many years constitutes long-term in this case, any more than two is probably rolling the dice.

It makes sense the Eagles would explore retaining Robinson after he played like one of the best cornerbacks in the league last season. There’s a sentimental side here as well after winning a world championship.

But the Eagles typically deploy a maximum of three cornerbacks at a time. Mills and Darby are both 24, and Jones is ready to contribute after missing almost the entirety of his rookie season with an injury. Where exactly does Robinson fit into this picture, in either the immediate or long-term future?

Maybe that’s a question the Eagles will answer once Robinson is under contract. Until then, it’s only natural to regard his potential return with a healthy degree of skepticism.

Fan recreates Eagles Super Bowl ring out of sand

Fan recreates Eagles Super Bowl ring out of sand

Here’s another story brought to you by the fact that the Eagles are Super Bowl champions.

Remember that gorgeous ring the team received last week? Well, someone made a replica completely out of sand.

That’s pretty impressive work and it’s awesome to see that Stefen Wisniewski is so proud of his ring that he’s wearing it to the beach. His former teammate and "Philly Special" QB, Trey Burton, is questioning that decision, though.

After the ring ceremony, Wisniewski posted this to his Twitter account, a heartfelt story about what the ring means to him.

The guys on the Eagles just get it. Throughout this journey that brought Philadelphia its first Super Bowl trophy, the players have put the fans first and taken everyone along for this incredible ride. It’s awesome to see a story like this where a Super Bowl champion is so proud to share his new ring with a fan.

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Eagles' trading Ronald Darby seems unlikely

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Eagles' trading Ronald Darby seems unlikely

The Eagles paid a reasonably high price to acquire Ronald Darby last August, sending a third-round draft choice and Jordan Matthews to the Bills in exchange for the cornerback.

So why is it all offseason there were rumors the Eagles might turn around and flip Darby? And why is it, even as training camp approaches those rumblings persist?

Darby is the Eagles’ most accomplished cornerback in many respects. Despite missing eight games last season, his three interceptions were tied for the most among the team’s returning players, while only Malcolm Jenkins received a higher grade from Pro Football Focus in the secondary. In terms of pedigree, Darby is a second-round talent with sub-4.4 speed and a nose for the football – the kind of game-changing ability you can’t teach – and, except for Jalen Mills, he’s the only proven corner on the roster.

Yet, the feeling Darby is on the trade block has been hard to shake. After months of speculation, but little concrete evidence to back it up, perhaps it’s worth exploring the legitimacy of the idea.

The rumor appears to have originated from an appearance by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on 97.5 The Fanatic on March 6. At the time, Mortensen said he would be surprised if the Eagles didn’t add a third-round pick in April’s draft, and believed they would move a defensive back to pick up the extra selection.

Though Mortensen never singled out Darby by name, he was the logical choice. The 24-year-old’s contract is scheduled to expire at the end of the 2018 season, and given the Eagles’ salary cap restraints and depth at cornerback, re-signing him long-term might prove challenging.

There’s been a lot of noise about the possibility of trading Darby ever since, but no strong or definitive report indicating the Eagles ever attempted to do so.

If the Eagles were to deal a corner, Darby does make the most sense. Mills is under contract through 2019, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas through 2020, and recent fourth-round pick Avonte Maddox through 2021. DeVante Bausby has also emerged as a rising prospect under contract for the foreseeable future.

Then again, if the Eagles are serious about repeating as Super Bowl champions, there’s no reason they should be aggressive in trying to dump Darby. A strong argument can be made he’s their best cover man, and set to play the ’18 season for a cool $1 million.

Who’s to say the Eagles wouldn’t make a concerted effort to sign Darby long-term after this season, either? Cornerback is clearly a position the team values. Mills has his limitations – not to mention his contract comes up soon – while Jones, Douglas and Maddox are all relative unknowns at this point. By the end of the ’18 campaign, Darby might be the only certainty of the bunch.

Right now in particular, remove Darby from the equation, and almost everybody else is nothing more than a projection. It’s difficult to imagine the Eagles taking such a huge gamble when there’s still so much at stake this season.

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