Eagles Surprisingly Cut 5-Time Pro Bowler: Report

The Philadelphia Eagles are moving on from one of their key players.

As Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports, the Eagles are releasing cornerback Darius Slay and designating him as a post-June 1 cut.

“The #Eagles will designate CB Darius Slay as a post-6/1 release, source says, which would push over $13 million of his cap hit into 2024,” says Garafolo. “He’ll count $8 million and change against the 2023 cap.”

Just prior to his release, Slay sent out a goodbye message to Philadelphia over social media.

“Nothing but love Philly!! Lets see where we heading next..,” said Slay.

Eagles Cutting Darius Slay After Giving Permission for Trade

The move to release the 32-year-old cornerback comes days after the Eagles granted Slay permission to seek a trade. The decision to allow Slay to seek a trade was made after the two sides could not come into an agreement on a restructured contract.

Via Tim McManus of ESPN:

“The Eagles and Slay could not work out a restructured contract and he will be a free agent today at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the sources said,” as noted by McManus. “The Eagles also had allowed Slay’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to seek a trade before deciding to release him.”

Slay was due to earn $17 million with a $26.1 million cap hit for the 2023 season, which would have made him the highest-paid cornerback in the league.

The five-time Pro Bowl cornerback was initially acquired via trade from the Detroit Lions in 2020 in exchange for a third and fifth-round draft pick. In turn, Slay rewarded the Eagles with Pro Bowl play over the past two seasons, including helping lead the league’s top pass defense unit in 2022.

Slay started all 17 games during the 2022 season, notching 55 tackles, 14 pass deflections and three interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus, Slay posted a 73.1 defensive grade and 77.4 grade in coverage last season. Among all cornerbacks (with at least 400 snaps), Slay ranked 24th in defensive grade and 14th in coverage grade.

With Slay’s departure, the Eagles will have a completely new defensive unit in 2023. Key members of last season’s team such as defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, linebacker T.J. Edwards and safety Marcus Epps have departed. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson remain free agents.

Eagles Seeking to Re-Sign C.J. Gardner-Johnson

While the Eagles have already lost several key members from last season’s defensive unit through free agency, they’re seeking to bring back a vital player.

As NFL insider Jordan Schultz reports, the Eagles are seeking a long-term deal with Gardner-Johnson.

“Eagles are trying to secure a long-term deal with C.J. Gardner Johnson, sources tell theScore,” says Schultz. “Not there yet, but they want him back. CJGJ played very well for Philly after the team acquired him in a trade with the #Saints before the season. True ball-hawk, with 6 INTs.”

The 25-year-old Gardner-Johnson co-led the NFL in interceptions (six) and notched 67 tackles to go along with eight pass deflections in his 12 starts.

According to Spotrac, Gardner-Johnson’s market value is $13.3 million per year for a total of $66.7 million across five seasons. That would make Gardner-Johnson the 10th-highest paid safety in the league.

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