Written by Jeff Howe, BO Wolf and Zack Berman
A league source said the Eagles plan to release Darius Slay to the Pro Bowl the athlete Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Slay, 32, earned his fifth Pro Bowl during the 2022 season with three interceptions and 14 pass defenses.
- The move marks another piece of the Eagles’ 2022 defense that won’t return, as defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and linebacker TJ Edwards are heading elsewhere. Others such as defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and safety CJ Gardner-Johnson are suspended free agents.
- Reportedly, the Eagles will designate Slay as a release after June 1. This would drive over $13 million of his cap through 2024. He would count $8 million and change against his 2023 cap.
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the athleteInstant Analysis:
What’s next for Philadelphia’s menu?
Slay’s $17.5 million release unlocks the cap room instantly and drives the dead money forward, as the Eagles have done many times in years past. With so many holes to fill, that’s enough space to sign someone like, say, Gardner-Johnson while filling in the gaps at defensive tackle, linebacker, and linebacker.
It’s also not entirely out of the question that the Eagles would sign Slay once he cleared the open market, as they did with Cox last season. – Wolf
How does this affect the Philly defence
The Eagles lost to a five-time Pro Bowler who was one of their best players. With Slay and Bradberry, the Eagles had one of the best cornerback combinations in the NFL. They agreed a new deal with James Bradbury on Tuesday, and now they’re moving on from Slay. This weakens the secondary, but prevents them from paying big money for a pair of 30-plus corners.
The Eagles saw the benefits of two notable corners, and now have a stark hole up against Bradbury. They can be taken up in the draft—the Eagles have the No. 10 and No. 30 first-round picks, and they have four draft picks in the Top 100—or via free agency or trade. Inside options include Zech McPhearson and Josh Jobe. Profile will not be a sure start so look for eagles to add to position.
Slay was also a respected captain who was voted team captain, with a unique personality that endeared him to his locker room mates. But this is the cycle of life in the NFL, and the defense was bound to look different next season. Slay is the fifth player to leave, joining Hargrave, Edwards, Marcus Epps and Kyzir White. – Berman
The Eagles acquired Slay in a deal with the Lions in March 2020. The linebacker has 26 career interceptions and 133 pass defenses during his 10 seasons with Philadelphia and Detroit.
(Photo: Eric Hartline/USA Today)
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