Darius Slay, Eagles Agree to New Contract to Free Up $9.14M in Salary-Cap Room

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2021

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (24) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec 6. 2020, between the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles and cornerback Darius Slay reportedly agreed to restructure his three-year, $50.1 million contract ahead of the new NFL league year, which opens March 17.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Friday that the reworked deal will save the Eagles $9.14 million in cap space for the 2021 season.

Slay established himself as one of the league's top corners across seven years with the Detroit Lions, who selected him in the second round of the 2013 draft. He earned three straight Pro Bowl selections from 2017 through 2019 before getting traded to the Eagles in March 2020.

The 30-year-old Mississippi State product didn't quite live up to that same standard during his first year in Philadelphia. He recorded 59 total tackles and just one interceptions in 15 games, earning a lackluster 62.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. He tallied six passes defended, his lowest total since his rookie year.

He took responsibility for the Eagles' Week 12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, when he allowed wide receiver DK Metcalf to make 10 catches for 177 yards, saying "put that game on me."

"He just made more plays than I did, and I take a real big ownership, man, because I feel like I'm one of the best in the game," Slay told reporters. "And I'm going to continue to always take my ownership, and I just say he got the best of me today."

His track record with the Lions, which included a First Team All-Pro selection in 2017, suggested he's a true No. 1 corner, and the Eagles will hope for a bounce-back year in 2021.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia has plenty more work ahead when it comes to working through the complexities of a salary cap that's expected to drop from $198.2 million because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The minimum is tentatively set at $180 million, and while that's not been finalized by the NFL and the Players Association, that puts the Eagles an estimated $34.6 million over the top-51 cap for 2021, per Spotrac.

Philadelphia faces tough roster decisions heading into the new league year. Several other veterans could be asked to restructure their deals to help the team save some money for next season, and others could be released.