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Byron Maxwell: 'Definitely consider' Eagles

PHILADELPHIA -- It is a trade Philadelphia Eagles fans would have made at any point during the 2014 season: Cary Williams to the Seattle Seahawks for fellow cornerback Byron Maxwell.

Though it might have been hard to picture the Seahawks agreeing to such a deal, it might happen through free agency.

Williams, who was released by the Eagles this week, was scheduled to visit the Seahawks. Because he was cut, Williams doesn’t have to wait for the new league year to begin on March 10 to sign with a new team.

Meanwhile, Maxwell is widely considered the top cornerback available on the free agent market. The Eagles will have plenty of salary-cap space to sign him, if they desire.

Judging by Maxwell’s appearance on ESPN Thursday morning, the interest would be mutual.

"They run the (defensive) scheme that I’m talking about," Maxwell. "Cover 3, man press. And they’re committed to winning, so definitely Philadelphia. If they were to come at me, I would definitely have to consider them."

Maxwell raises a couple of interesting points there. For one thing, it is interesting that he already has a feel for the defensive scheme run by Eagles coordinator Bill Davis. The Seahawks played the Eagles late in the regular season, so Maxwell might have simply noticed what was happening out on the field. Or he may already have done some homework on potential new employers.

But if the schemes are similar in Seattle and Philadelphia, that is a pretty clear indicator that talent has a certain amount to do with success or failure. The Eagles’ similar scheme allowed the second-most passing yards in the NFL in 2014. The Seahawks allowed the fewest, about 80 fewer yards per game than the Eagles. The Eagles allowed a league-high 72 pass plays of 20 yards or more. The Seahawks allowed a league-low 32 pass plays of 20 yards or more.

So it would be educational if Williams and Maxwell switch teams. Will Williams be more effective in a secondary with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor than he was in a secondary with Bradley Fletcher, Nate Allen, and Malcolm Jenkins?

Safety Patrick Chung was a washout as a 2013 free agent signing by the Eagles. He was released last offseason. But Chung rejoined the New England Patriots in 2014, earned a contract extension and won a Super Bowl ring. There is a lesson in there.

Maxwell might be the guy who starts raising the level of the players around him. The Eagles might have three new starters in their secondary in 2015. They will have a new coach working with them. Clearly, improving the secondary is a major priority. Adding Maxwell would help, but it will only be the first of several needed moves.