Would It Be Too Risky for the Eagles to Can Both Starting Cornerbacks?

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistFebruary 20, 2013

Aug 05, 2011; Bethlehem, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles corner back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (23) and corner back Nnamdi Asomugha (24) participate in a drill during training camp at Lehigh University. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles have already stated that they won't be making dramatic changes to their preliminary draft board based solely on what goes down this weekend at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but you can bet that they're definitely contemplating taking a cornerback early in the NFL draft in late April.

With that in mind, lots of Eagles fans will be watching blue-chip corner prospects such as Dee Milliner, Xavier Rhodes, Johnthan Banks and Desmond Trufant very closely when cornerbacks work out Monday and Tuesday inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

But even if one of those guys dazzles the Eagles' brass to enough of a degree to merit being chosen fourth overall (or early in the second round), can Philadelphia afford to move on from both of its disappointing incumbent starters at that position?

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is an impending free agent who is likely to be overpaid on the open market because of his enticing physical skills, but his coverage wasn't much better despite favorable schemes in 2012. The Eagles won't be tagging him and might not want to bother paying a one-dimensional cover corner who is a reminder of Andy Reid's failed final gasp in the City of Brotherly Love. 

Nnamdi Asomugha is due to make a ridiculous $15 million in 2013, but there's no way Howie Roseman and Co. will pay him that. The guy was terribly inconsistent this past season and appears as though he's sliding quickly. They can either pay him $4 million to play somewhere else or restructure his deal and pay him a little more than that to hold things down (or attempt to) for at least one more season.

My preference is that they toss both aside, but that's because I think this franchise has to attempt to separate itself from the failed experiments that made it a laughingstock the last two years. It's hard to move on when guys like DRC, Asomugha and Michael Vick are hanging around. 

The short-term solution might be to find a more reasonably priced replacement on the free-agent market (while also drafting another) and hoping that Brandon Boykin can step up in his second season. Imagine, for example, Milliner, Kyle Arrington and Boykin. Or maybe you land a guy like Rhodes in Round 2 and combine him with Greg Toler and Boykin. That still leaves you with the ability to draft a safety or an offensive lineman or even a nose tackle in Round 1.

It's not pretty no matter how you look at it, but at least there's hope. And it'll cost a lot less than paying Rodgers-Cromartie and/or Asomugha. 

As a matter of fact, my vote is for the entire secondary to be made over in the next few months. Forget Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman. Let's see what second-round prospects like Jonathan Cyprien and Eric Reid bring to the table in Indy, draft someone on Day 1 or 2 and pluck a free-agent safety like William Moore.

What say you, guys?