Philadelphia Eagles: Good luck in Miami, Cre’von LeBlanc

(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

As things presently stand, the Philadelphia Eagles have one of the least proven cornerbacks rooms in the NFL.

Sure, they’re returning Darius Slay, who was a stabilizing force for the Eagles last season, albeit under less than ideal circumstances. Even as he prepares to enter his ninth NFL season, Slay can still hang with 90 percent of the wide receivers in the league without issue and should at worst be a competent number one cornerback on a team that hasn’t had competent perimeter options for quite some time.

The team is also returning Avonte Maddox, their second perimeter cornerback last season, but that might not be a good thing. Not to be too harsh on Maddox, he very well could be a viable slot cornerback if placed in the right scheme, but in 2020, he struggled mightily to compete with many of the NFC East’s receivers due to his lack of size.

And behind those two? Well, no one really knows what they have, not even the Eagles.

Sure, they’re returning a number of bottom-of-the-depth-chart guys from the 2020 season, players like Michael Jacquet, Kevon Seymour, and Craig James, but does anyone really expect any of those guys to go from zeros to heroes this fall?

And then there’s the quartet of cornerbacks the Eagles landed this past spring, players like Zech McPhearson, Josiah Scott, Nate Meadors, and Shakial Taylor. Those players have appeared in 14 games combined and, at an average age of 23.35, aren’t exactly the sort of grizzled vets capable of stabilizing the position across from Slay should Maddox falter. If anything, that collection of players are all better suited for the slot than the outside either due to their lack of size, speed, or both.

So naturally, with a youth movement in full swing in the Philadelphia Eagles’ cornerbacks room – even if one could argue that such a decision may be antithetical to their overall success – it makes sense that there wouldn’t be a massive desire to bring back 27-year-old Cre’von LeBlanc for his sixth professional season. If anything, the team’s decision to allow him to walk may be Strap’s best chance to actually find a long-term home moving forward, especially when you consider the contract situation currently surrounding the Miami Dolphins’ franchise CB Xavien Howard.

Cre’von LeBlanc may finally find a home away from the Philadelphia Eagles.

More from Section 215

On paper, if you’re a free agent NFL cornerback looking for a place to compete for a starting slot, the Miami Dolphins may not be near the top of your list.

With three legit starting-caliber cornerbacks already on their roster in homegrown star Xavien Howard, massive free agent signee Byron Jones, and 2020 first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene, the Dolphins are a rapidly ascending squad with a ton of talent on the back end and a defensive front that makes their collective lives a whole lot easier.

Even considering Igbinoghene’s less than elite initial offering as a rookie, turning in 287 not-particularly-impressive snaps behind Howard, Jones, and UDFA-turned-slot cornerback Nik Needham, the prospects of landing a role bigger than dime specialist feels rather daunting even for the most firey of competitors.

If all things remain copacetic, that’s likely the role Cre’von LeBlanc will be vying for this summer alongside a spot on special teams, as he is unquestionably the least prestigious member of that corps due to his journeyman status and inexperience in Brian Flores’ scheme, but if one single domino falls his way, things could look a whole lot different for the pride of Florida Atlantic.

You see, for the second-straight offseason, there have been rumblings that Howard isn’t happy with his contract situation, with the 2020 All-Pro going so far as to skip mandatory minicamp as his camp positions for a trade. He feels as though his current contract, worth $75.25 million over five years, is a vast underpay versus his on-field accomplishments – which is sort of true – and the Dolphins’ unwillingness to play ball on a reworked deal worth more money isn’t sitting too well with the NFL’s reigning interception champ.

If Howard is traded this offseason – not to the Philadelphia Eagles, of course, even if that would be a dream come true – everyone on the Dolphins’ depth chart would logically kick up a spot, and thus, LeBlanc could go from being a long-shot to earn consistent playing time to being a snap away from a starting role in addition to his efforts in defensive subpackages.

Factor in LeBlanc’s Floridian roots and the one-year nature of his current contract, and suddenly, the idea of spending a season in South Beach feels pretty darn compelling, especially since a return to Philadelphia simply didn’t make sense for either party.

Next. Wait, is Zach Ertz actually staying?. dark

So Cre’von LeBlanc, have fun in South Florida, and thanks for the memories. While playing time wasn’t always as consistent as you, or the fans, may have liked, you always made things interesting when given an opportunity to take the field, especially in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2018 playoff run. That pick on Drew Brees should keep you a South Philly fan favorite for the foreseeable future.