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Leodis McKelvin signals new Eagles approach on CBs

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles have tried very hard to find quality cornerbacks in free agency. They are trying a new approach this year, with veteran Leodis McKelvin visiting the NovaCare Complex Tuesday.

McKelvin’s visit was first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The Eagles have acquired Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Nolan Carroll and Byron Maxwell over the past five years. The millions of dollars they spent at the position have resulted in lousy pass defense and brief relationships with the players.

McKelvin, 30, spent eight seasons with the Buffalo Bills. In 2014, his defensive coordinator was Jim Schwartz, who now holds that job with the Eagles.

Playing in Schwartz’s pressure-oriented scheme, McKelvin intercepted a career-high four passes in 2014. McKelvin’s season ended with a fractured ankle.

That injury created problems that affected McKelvin last summer. He missed seven games in Rex Ryan’s first season as head coach. Last week, the Bills released McKelvin to save $4.9 million off the salary cap. That is why the Eagles are able to talk to him and negotiate with him before tomorrow’s opening of the free agent market.

The Eagles are trading Maxwell to the Miami Dolphins, a deal that is expected to become final Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. The departure of the 2015 free-agent signing will leave the Eagles with second-year man Eric Rowe as the team’s most experienced cornerback.

They are likely to add a veteran cornerback or two in free agency.

McKelvin was Buffalo’s first-round draft choice in 2008, after he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound McKelvin probably wouldn’t have been on Chip Kelly’s radar because of his size.

But in Schwartz’s defense, McKelvin’s speed and ability to make big plays on passes rushed by harried quarterbacks would be welcome attributes. The Eagles likely wouldn’t have to break the bank for McKelvin.

That is something they have done for the likes of Maxwell and Asomugha. The Eagles appear ready to try a different strategy.