First he was under contract just through 2023. Then he was about to get released. Now the Eagles have Darius Slay under contract through 2025 after the two sides agreed on a contract restructure and extension, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the extension is worth a total of $42 million over three years, which includes $23 million in guaranteed money.
That sounds like a lot of money, but the significant part is the $6 million raise from Slay’s original 2023 salary of $17 million to the guaranteed amount of $23 million.
Cap details weren’t immediately available, but the deal will significantly reduce Slay’s unwieldy $26.1 million cap hit for this coming year and carves out cap space for the cap-strapped Eagles while also giving Slay the raise he desperately wanted.
Slay’s average annual salary of $14 million currently ranks him 11th among all cornerbacks under contract, but the structure most likely will allow the Eagles to get out from this deal after 2023.
The agreement comes one day after the Eagles signed James Bradberry to a three-year, $38 million deal including $20 million in guaranteed money.
Slay, a five-time Pro Bowl cornerback, received permission from the Eagles to seek a trade last week. When there were no offers, the Eagles reportedly released Slay. But they never did officially release him, and the two sides were able to agree on a restructure late Wednesday evening.
The Eagles went from quite possibly losing both their star cornerbacks from the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense – Slay was a Pro Bowler this year and Bradberry was a Second Team All-Pro – to now having both return for 2023 and both under contract through 2025.
Slay’s play seemed to drop off in the second half of last season, which is a little concerning considering the investment the Eagles are making in him. But they clearly believe the Slay we saw in 2020, 2021 and the first half of 2022 is the one we’ll see in 2023.
Slay turned 32 in January, so he’ll turn 35 before this contract lapses, and that’s old for a cornerback. The Eagles haven’t had a defensive back 33 or older start 10 games in a season since Brian Dawkins’ final year here in 2008 and they haven’t had a starting cornerback 33 or older since Troy Vincent in 2003 and before that Bob Howard in 1979.
The Eagles have now given out contracts to five players who turn 30 before opening day: Slay (three years, $23 million guaranteed), Bradberry (three years, $20 million guaranteed), Jason Kelce (one year, $14.5 million) Fletcher Cox (one year, $10 million) and Brandon Graham (one year, $6 million).
Those five deals include $73.5 million in compensation in 2023.
The Eagles have also signed running backs Rashaad Penny (one year, $1.35 million) and Boston Scott (one year, $2 million).
They’ve lost Javon Hargrave to the 49ers, Miles Sanders to the Panthers, Marcus Epps to the Raiders, Kyzir White to the Cards and Gardner Minshew to the Colts.
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