Cary Williams, Kenny Phillips sign with Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles joined the list of teams raiding the Ravens’ Super Bowl defense, signing cornerback Cary Williams to a three-year, $17 million deal. Philadelphia also picked up ex-Giants safety Kenny Phillips on a one-year contract.
Coupled with their earlier signings of Patrick Chung and Bradley Fletcher, the Eagles could trot out an entirely new secondary to start 2013. At the very least, Williams and Chung figure to be in that starting lineup; Williams started every game for Baltimore over each of the past two seasons.
The initial numbers on Williams’ deal actually puts him at the high end of a flurry of CB signings on Wednesday and Thursday. That reality runs in contrast to Williams’ actual play — quarterbacks chalked up a 98.4 rating on passes thrown his direction, according to Pro Football Focus, though Williams did knock down 11 balls and intercepted four.
Even if he struggles after moving to Philadelphia, the Eagles simply will be happy to wash their hands of the Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie/Nnamdi Asomugha experiment that so badly backfired on them. Brandon Boykin arguably outplayed both of those supposed stars last season, and he returns in 2013 to add quality depth.
Phillips could go down as a depth player, too, but he also might grab the free safety spot next to Chung. Phillips missed nine games last season and has dealt with knee issues for several years. Giving him a one-year deal, then, both provides motivation for Phillips to play well in 2013 and allows Philadelphia the opportunity to see if he can bounce back.
At the very least, he’s a veteran to slot in behind Kurt Coleman, an underachieving 14-game starter in 2012.
Grade for Williams signing: B. The Eagles went above what the market dictated for a player of Williams’ quality, but he’s an obvious starter for them.
Grade for Phillips signing: C-plus. I’m leaving room for this grade to shoot through the roof if Phillips is 100 percent. In that case, he’d win a starting job and serve as a clear upgrade on Coleman. However, if he’s not fully healthy (and he rarely has been as an NFL player), the Eagles still need to find another capable defender in the secondary.