Ronald Darby suffered an injury-plagued season in 2018, but the Eagles were smart to bring the talented corner back at a bargain price.
Anyone who watched the Philadelphia Eagles play down the stretch last season could see that they lacked talent in the secondary. Cornerback, in particular, looked to be the team’s biggest weakness heading into free agency. Bringing Ronald Darby back is a step in the right direction for Philadelphia.
Injuries limited Darby to just nine games last season, and it’s possible he won’t be ready for Week 1 after tearing his ACL in November. Philadelphia’s front office is obviously comfortable with his medicals. When he returns, the Eagles will likely rely on Darby to hold down one of their starting positions on the outside. That makes the contract he signed a solid bargain.
This is a classic make-good deal for Darby. He’s only signing a one-year contract with the Eagles that will pay him $8.5 million. The plan will be for him to play great in 2019 and hit the market again next offseason with much more leverage.
Darby may not be a great corner, but he’s been well above average since he came into the NFL back in 2015.
The fact that he chose to stay in Philadelphia to rehab his ACL injury should have clued NFL observers in on what Darby wanted to do in free agency.
Darby’s decision to sign with the Eagles is bad news for the Chiefs. They were thought to be a prime contender for his services.
There’s a lot to like about this deal if you’re an Eagles fan. Potentially, Philadelphia has managed to sign a legitimate starting corner on the outside for just $8.5 million. In terms of free agency, that’s well below market value.
The risk, of course, is that Darby might miss a week or two of action as he recovers from his ACL injury. The uncertainty about his knee definitely depressed his value, but the Eagles should know more about his condition than anyone else. The fact that they were willing to bring Darby back at this number shows their confidence in his ability to make a quick and complete recovery.
The only downside to this deal for Philadelphia is that it’s only a one-year pact. Don’t be surprised if Darby drastically outperforms it and earns a big, long-term deal next offseason. That may or may not be with the Eagles.
Ultimately, the Eagles managed to fill one of their biggest needs at a pretty modest salary. That’s a win for any NFL franchise.