Howie Roseman made many Eagles fans upset when he traded a third round pick and Jordan Matthews for Ronald Darby right before the 2017 season kicked off. It originally seemed like Darby would be here for that season and play his way into a big extension, as his rookie contract expires after the 2018 campaign.
Unfortunately for him, he sustained an ankle injured that sidelined him in the first game he played as an Eagle against Washington. As a result, Rasul Douglas filled in for Darby and played extremely well for a rookie. In Douglas’ first start against Kansas City, he only allowed 22 yards passing and made key tackles, and until Darby’s return in against Dallas, he was graded as one of the better outside Cornerbacks in the NFL through 10 weeks. So why can’t he get onto the field in 2018?
It seems apparent that Jim Schwartz doesn’t like to move his corners around a whole lot, considering Darby and Jalen Mills are stationary on their respective sides. If Darby doesn’t need a breather and isn’t hurt, then there’s no reason or room for Douglas to be out there, and that’s definitely an issue when you factor in the work the former West Virginia corner put in last season.
Let’s also not forget: Douglas was a third-round pick. Would it make sense to keep an older (by comparison) Cornerback in Darby with an expiring contract while the team has Douglas waiting to make his impact on the outside?
Earlier this season, the coaching staff felt Stefan Wisniewski wasn’t performing, so they promoted 2016’s third-round pick Isaac Seumalo to starting left guard. Some members of Eagles media questioned if this was more pressure to see high draft picks pan out than it was performance-based, so wouldn’t it make sense that Schwartz would also feel a similar pressure? It also probably doesn’t matter that much, but the Eagles also have Jordan Matthews back now. So, it’s almost as if they received Darby for a third-round pick alone.
Is Darby still worth a third-rounder? Maybe. With 2018 being his last year on contract, the Eagles likely don’t have any leverage, so a fourth is probably more likely, especially at this point in the season. However, regardless of his value, I believe Darby’s time in Philadelphia is nearly up. He certainly isn’t getting a contract here — not with the Carson Wentz mega-deal on the horizon and a handful of other players that are more deserving of staying long-term. So why not move Darby?
Darby has had excellent moments this year, but he’s also actually given up more touchdowns than Mills, whom fans have relentlessly criticized on social media. There’s also no guarantee plugging Douglas back into this lineup buttons up the defense that surrendered two fourth quarter touchdown passes to one of the lesser accurate NFL starting quarterbacks in Cam Newton.
A recent report from NFL Insider Jason La Canfora said that the Eagles have inquired about Arizona Cardinals three-time first time All-Pro Cornerback Patrick Peterson. It’s worth noting that Peterson wants out of Arizona and has a history of returning punts — an area that the 2018 Eagles have struggled in. Do they try to acquire the Cardinals corner using one of their own picks and whatever they can get for Darby? We’ll definitely know by October 30th.