Cornerback was a strength for the Philadelphia Eagles heading into the season, but injuries and poor performance have severely impacted that depth. Philadelphia has received inconsistent play from No. 1 cornerback Ronald Darby, who is out a month with an injured hamstring and No. 2 cornerback Sidney Jones, who left Thursday's win over the Green Bay Packers with a similar injury.
Avonte Maddox also left Thursday's game with a concussion and a neck injury, although it's unclear how long he'll be out. Cre'von LeBlanc is still on injured reserve with a Lisfranc sprain. That leaves the Eagles down do just two healthy cornerbacks: Rasul Douglas and Craig James, who was out of the league just nine days ago.
The Eagles can't get by with just two healthy cornerbacks on the roster and there's no guarantee Jones and Maddox will play against the Jets on October 6. Philadelphia will need to add more cornerbacks to the roster in the coming days. Let's start by breaking down some of the team's free agent options -- most likely to sign more immediately -- before later breaking down who might be available via trade prior to the NFL's trade deadline.
This is the obvious move considering Scandrick spent training camp and the preseason with the Eagles, so he understands Jim Schwartz's system. Scandrick was one of the better slot cornerbacks in the league when he was in his prime, but he's past that part of his career. Scandrick can play both the inside and outside -- versatility that is valuable to the Eagles.
The 32-year old Scandrick played 15 games with the Chiefs last season, finishing with 44 tackles, 13 passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble. Opposing quarterbacks had an 80.6 passer rating targeting Scandrick last season, as he allowed 48 catches for 473 yards.
Webster was released by the New Orleans Saints a month ago, but the Eagles have shown interest in him in the past. Webster has an excellent cornerback in dime packages with the Denver Broncos before injuries derailed his career with the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans over the last two years. Webster can provide depth in the secondary when he's healthy as a slot corner, but he's had just one workout with the Jets since his release.
Benwikere is available as an option on the outside after being released by the Minnesota Vikings last month. The Eagles could use some depth at outside cornerback until Jones and Darby return, which is where Benwikere could be a fit. He has experience playing the boundary.
Benwikere has played 57 games in five seasons with six different teams, making 22 starts. He played 15 games with the Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders last season, making eight starts and finishing with 54 tackles, four passes defensed and one interception. Benwikere was released by the Cardinals in November before signing with the Raiders, playing just 32 snaps in Oakland.
The Eagles could also look to acquire the following players via trade:
The Eagles have been interested in Ramsey for some time, but the pursuit will likely ramp up over the next few days given the dire cornerback situation. The Eagles' lack of a pass rush is concerning, even though it made improvements Thursday night against the Packers. In Schwartz's defense, the pass rush getting home to the quarterback benefits the cornerback in coverage. This is where Ramsey would help if the pass rush doesn't get to the quarterback, as he can cover a receiver in press or zone and benefit the secondary.
for the Eagles to get Ramsey.
Howard won't be as expensive as Ramsey and has some familiarity with the Eagles defense as Eagles defensive assistant Matt Burke was his defensive coordinator the past two seasons in Miami. The 26-year old Howard, a former second-round pick of the Dolphins, led the NFL with seven interceptions last season and has 11 from 2017-2018, along with 25 passes defensed.
Howard's starts haven't looked good in a Dolphins defense that has allowed 499 pass yards per game, but going back to a familiar defense could help.
Another Dolphins defensive back that would benefit leaving Miami is McCain. A former fifth-round pick of the Dolphins (2015), McCain plays safety in Miami's defense this year, but he played cornerback when Burke was the defensive coordinator, having three interceptions, three sacks, 106 tackles and 12 passes defensed in the two seasons under Burke. McCain has the versatility to play cornerback and safety, another plus for Schwartz's scheme.