By Peter Gleason
The Cowboys made a splash when they acquired former defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore from the Colts.
Then they thought about another move:
While an initial report indicated the Cowboys discussed Darius Slay with the Eagles, ESPN’s Todd Archer clarified that the Eagles did not reach out to Dallas, so the Cowboys were clearly sniffing around at CB options. But the team had Slay on the radar. Jane Slater of the NFL Network tweets that the Cowboys indeed kicked around the idea of acquiring Slay.
While the Cowboys could theoretically carve out enough room to afford a pair of pricey cornerbacks, there’s a better chance the two potential moves were mutually exclusive, meaning Dallas preferred Gilmore.
Slay was recently granted permission to seek a trade out of Philly. It’s uncertain which side opted for a divorce; there were reports that the Eagles wanted to keep the cornerback around and that Slay wanted to stay in Philadelphia. The most likely explanation is that the Eagles wanted Slay to take a pay cut, and both sides may be exhausting their options before the player gives in to a reduced contract or is cut.
One year remains on Slay’s Eagles extension, a three-year pact worth $50 million.
Addressing the trade topic on his latest podcast, Slay said he still wants to finish his career with the Eagles. That said, he confirmed he will continue his career elsewhere if that is what the Eagles end up deciding. The team locked up James Bradberry earlier today.
“I know what’s going on. I hear the rumors; I hear everything,” Slay said.
“I see everything all over the globe, all over the internet and I just want my fans to know Slay did not ask to be traded. But this is part of the business. There’s no bad blood against neither one of us, me or Howie [Roseman]. None of that. We all good, great understanding. It’s just the business part of it. A lot of guys go up for trades, you know, they got a lot of money involved in this situation so it’s nothing big, nothing too serious. It’s just part of the business, man.
“I do want to finish my career as an Eagle but we’ll see. We be looking forward to it, man. Got time here. But best believe, I do want to be an Eagle. But if my job requires me to go elsewhere, then I’ll go.”
Since joining the Eagles in 2020, the cornerback has earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods. This past season, Slay finished with 55 tackles, 14 passes defended, and three interceptions. He ended up landing at 21st among 118 qualifying cornerbacks in 2022, per Pro Football Focus…a considerable drop from his fourth-place finish in 2021 but a significant jump from his grades in 2019 and 2020. For comparison’s sake, Gilmore finished this past season as PFF’s ninth-best CB.