Philadelphia Eagles: Re-signing Ronald Darby just makes sense

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After flirting with the Kansas City Chiefs, Ronald Darby has rightfully re-signed with Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year, $8.5 million deal.

On the eve of the 2019 franchise tag deadline, I suggested that the Philadelphia Eagles should have used theirs to lock up Ronald Darby for one more season.

Less than a week into the 2019 NFL calendar year, Howie Roseman has done the next best thing: He’s re-signed the 25-year-old cornerback to a one-year, $8.5 million deal a day after visiting with the Kansas City Chiefs.

For those keeping track at home, that’s between $7-8 million less than the franchise tag would have cost.

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While the move initially seemed like a bit of a longshot, as many assumed that Darby would have a robust market despite his still-ailing ACL, that apparently was not the case, as (presumably) teams didn’t want to invest big, partially guaranteed money into a speedy cornerback before seeing he’s back at full strength.

But really, should we be surprised?

Clearly, Roseman and Jim Schwartz, his former coach in Buffalo, loved Darby’s incredibly enticing skillset that they traded away a third-round pick and then-fan favorite wide receiver Jordan Matthews to procure his services in a deal with the Bills.

Typically, teams don’t make that kind of move, trading their second-best wide receiver and a Day 2 pick for a two-year rental, moves for Golden Tate and Jay Ajayi not-withstanding.

While the best ability is availability, it’s hard to argue that any of the Eagles’ half-dozen other cornerbacks have been able to put up even remotely comparable numbers to Darby.

In 17 regular season games of action, Darby has picked off four passes, deflected 21 more, and made 69 solo tackles, the best all-around mark of any cornerback on the team.

Sure, Rasul Douglas has picked off one more pass, and Jalen Mills has made more tackles, but Darby has the highest upside of any cornerback on the team, with elite speed, adequate size, and a real eye for the ball.

Who knows, if Darby can spend a few extra hours on a JUGS machine, he could go down as the best Eagles cornerback of the decade.

Well, now the Eagles have an opportunity to find out if that’s the case.

While he may not be ready to play Week 1, Darby should still be able to provide at least $8.5 million of value for the Eagles in 2019, if as nothing more than a reliable stopgap as Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox continue to develop their skills in limited action.

If he can prove that he’s fully healthy and can continue to play at a high level, then Roseman could very well lock him up into a long-term, big money deal, and if not, the Eagles can move no harm no foul and instead use that money to re-sign Mills, or sign a free agent.

That sort of optionality is worth $8.5 million as an insurance policy alone.

Next. Golden Tate to the Giants is a best-case scenerio. dark

So hey, maybe the next time a player tells Ian Rapoport that his home club really wants to keep him around on a podcast, which Ronald Darby did on March 10th, we should all listen, as clearly in this case, Ronald Darby was dead on.