Darius Slay trade grades: Eagles finally land a shutdown corner; Lions cut losses and add more draft capital


The Philadelphia Eagles have made their biggest splash of the offseason thus far by reportedly striking a deal with the Detroit Lions that lands star cornerback Darius Slay. As the Pro Bowl corner heads to the City of Brotherly Love, the Lions gain a third and a fifth round pick as compensation. Not only did the Eagles land Slay, but they also inked him to a deal that now makes him the highest paid player at his position in the league on an average annual salary basis. 

As you’ll read more in-depth below, it’s hard not to look at the Eagles as the biggest winner of this transaction given they are landing the big-name player in this deal. While that may be true, the Lions were able to come away with some much needed draft capital, which should also be looked at as a positive with all things considered. 

Eagles receive: 

Eagles trade grade: A

Philadelphia finally gets the shutdown corner they’ve been searching for. Slay is looked at as one of the top corners in the entire NFL and is particularly strong in man-to-man coverage. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl for the past three years was a former First-team All-Pro in 2017. Even with an injured hamstring in 2019, Slay was still able to allow just an 81.6 passer rating when targeted while also being tied for the team lead in interceptions (2) and passes defended (13). 

The secondary was one of the Eagles biggest problems in 2019 and allowed 241.6 yards per game through the air, which ranked in the bottom half of the league. By adding the likes of Slay, Philadelphia is putting a blue chip player in the back end of their defense in what has already been a transformative offseason for the secondary. 

Not only do they acquire Slay, but the Eagles were also able to lock him up to a three-year deal worth $50 million and includes $30 million guaranteed. On an average annual value basis, the 29-year-old is now the highest paid corner in the league. 

For Philly, giving up a third and a fifth for Slay is chump change, especially when you look at all the remaining draft capital they still have even after the trade. They’ll still have an additional third rounder to spend at the 2020 NFL Draft thanks to the compensatory formula and they have another fifth that formerly belonged to the New England Patriots. In all, the Eagles still have six picks in the first 150 selections. 

Lions trade grade: B- 

Sometimes it’s just smart to cut your losses with a player. Despite Slay’s immense talent, his days with the Lions appeared to be numbered for quite some time, so it was only a matter when they’d actually pull the trigger on moving on from a player, who didn’t seem too interested in sticking around the Motor City any longer. The Lions also didn’t seem interested in paying Slay, so they at least get some compensation for him as he walks out the door. 

As for the package they got back, I’d say it was fine, but not exactly a king’s ransom. That was to be expected, however, as any deal for Slay likely would have come with the caveat that the team acquiring him would also need to give him a new contract that makes the three-time Pro Bowl corner the highest paid player at his position. You’re not going to give up a first or a second rounder and shell out a huge contract. That’s just bad business (Maybe Bill O’Brien would, but that’s beside the point). The fact that they were able to get the No. 85 overall pick and a fifth-rounder should be looked at positively. Now, Detroit has five selections in first 85 picks. 

Still, when you’re the team losing arguably the best corner in the league, it’s hard to spin things as being the “winner” of the trade. 





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