Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has all but promised a return to higher-level, longer-term investments this offseason, and with just weeks until 2020 free agency, it appears an elite cornerback is atop his wish list.
ESPN's Tim McManus reported Friday that all signs point to the Eagles "going hard after a top-end cornerback when the new NFL league year opens," with Dallas Cowboys free agent Byron Jones their most logical target.
Philadelphia has been resistant to paying big bucks for veteran corners in recent years, in part due to salary-cap constraints but also in the wake of headlining misses on names like Byron Maxwell (2015). With Roseman admittedly targeting a return to the team's 2016 and 2017 offseason philosophies, which prioritized younger free agents at core positions, and the Eagles touting more financial flexibility three years removed from their Super Bowl run, McManus suggested Philly's "Plan A" is relying on the veteran market, not the draft, to secure "the top cornerback available."
That reiterates: That the Eagles are among the most likely suitors for Jones, who's set to command something like $16 million per season as the NFL's next highest-paid CB.
The 27-year-old former first-round draft pick is the consensus top player at his position hitting the market, and while the Cowboys have the wherewithal to keep all three of their high-profile free agents -- including quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper -- they have been adamant about not engaging in a bidding war for Jones. Cowboys director of player personnel Stephen Jones, in fact, has all but singled Jones out as the likeliest of the big-name trio to test the market and, ultimately, depart Dallas.
The Eagles, meanwhile, have both of their current starting CBs, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, set to hit free agency, and neither Rasul Douglas nor Sidney Jones, the top reserves, has been trusted with a full-time role in the past. Mills is likely to return considering his favor with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, but that would still leave at least one starting job open for 2020.