The Eagles have already shaken up their cornerback group from 2016 by releasing veteran Leodis McKelvin last week. But that may be the tip of the iceberg.
It's no secret the Eagles have had trouble finding stability at cornerback since Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown were paired up back in 2007. In fact, the last decent corner to come to Philadelphia, Asante Samuel, hasn't played a down of football for the team since 2011.
Since then, there has been big name free agents who didn't live up to their price tag, and veteran stopgaps who struggled to consistently prevent big plays, (see Fletcher, Bradley). Now, with the Eagles about to round a corner in their rebuilding effort, it is time for them to fix the issues that have plagued the back end of their defense for the better part of the last decade.
Ron Brooks, Jalen Mills, CJ Smith, Aaron Grymes and Dwayne Gratz are all signed to long-term deals. Mitchell White was signed to a future contract in January and Nolan Carroll is an unrestricted free agent.
The only true lock is Mills, who looked to be a solid starter in his rookie campaign. Grymes also played well in the preseason, but missed the opening day roster due to injury. If he's healthy, he could be back as a depth piece. Brooks is also signed for the next two years and if he can recover from his season-ending quadriceps surgery, he can be a veteran presence in a youth-filled position.
Carroll is the big name in this group. The former Dolphin played well at times in his career as an Eagle, but not well enough to warrant bringing him back for a starting spot at the age of 30. It would be best for Carroll to find a veteran team in need of a second cornerback, sort of like when Cary Williams signed with Seattle two years ago, although that didn't exactly work out.
As for Smith and Gratz, their best shot at making the roster will be to out-play Grymes in training camp, but as of right now, the pair would be a slight downgrade from the former CFL standout.
With such little stability at cornerback, the Eagles could be looking to bring in at least one starter this offseason.
In a draft that's supposedly laded with talent at the cornerback position, the Birds may decide to hold off on drafting Teez Tabor or Marlon Humphrey in the first round in hopes of gaining more value with their Day 2 picks. In fact, CBS Sports has 17 cornerbacks with a third-round grade or higher, which could make it easier for Howie Roseman to look elsewhere with the team's first round pick.
Roseman is known to love his Florida Gators and the GM could take a shot on Quincy Wilson on Day 2. The 6-0, 209 pound, corner was listed as a first round pick for much of the 2016 season and some scouts believe there isn't much of a gap between Wilson and his former teammate, Tabor.
As for free agency, the big name fans will be drooling over during the next few is A.J. Bouye from Houston. However, with the Texans likely to hit him with the franchise tag, it seems like he won't be hitting the open market, or if he does, he will be out of the Eagles' price range. Spotrac estimates the former undrafted free agent could command over $57 million, should he become a free agent.
With all of the struggles Roseman and the Eagles have had in recent years signing free-agent CBs, it may make sense to wait until the first wave of free agency is over before delving into the market, in hopes of finding an undervalued talent.