PHILADELPHIA -- On the eve of the NFL's new league year, and the opening of the free-agent market, the Philadelphia Eagles' priorities appear to be changing.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell, who signed a six-year, $63-million contract last year, could be a member of the Miami Dolphins by Wednesday afternoon. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Eagles were trading Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso to Miami in exchange for draft picks.
If that deal goes through, the Eagles are more likely to look for a cornerback in free agency. That is a daunting task for this team. In addition to Maxwell, the Eagles have made offseason moves to add Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie over the past five years.
None of those moves turned out particularly well. Maxwell would move to the top of that list because of the size of his contract.
It is more likely the Eagles will pursue a second-tier free agent rather than a Maxwell or Asomugha-style marquee free agent.
There are a few options:
Nolan Carroll. He spent the last two years with the Eagles after signing a free-agent deal in 2014. Carroll started last season until breaking his lower leg during the Thanksgiving game in Detroit. He is scheduled to become a free agent on Wednesday.
Brandon Boykin. As long as the Eagles are shipping out Chip Kelly's 2015 acquisitions, they might as well try to recover some of the players Kelly got rid of. Boykin was traded to Pittsburgh, where he didn't really fit in. A solid slot corner, Boykin is also headed to free agency.
Janoris Jenkins. The former St. Louis Rams cornerback is probably the consensus top free agent at the position this year. He may not command Maxwell money, but it will take a significant deal to attract him. The guess here is the Eagles will look elsewhere.
Sean Smith. Doug Pederson watched his offense go against Smith every day in practice. And it would be richly ironic if the post-Kelly Eagles were to sign a 6-foot-4 cornerback. Big people can cover little people, too.
ESPN's Josina Anderson named the Eagles as one team that is interested in Robinson. Like Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, he came into the NFL as a first-round pick by the New Orleans Saints. He would fit the profile of a second-tier free agent with the potential to be a solid starter.
There are cornerbacks available. The Eagles created a need for one. They should land one of these free agents so they don't get forced to find a starting-caliber cornerback in the draft.