We’re at the point in NFL free agency where some players are seeing that the market isn’t going to live up to their expectations, so they might as well take one-year deals and try again next year.
The Eagles agreed to such a contract with cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman on Wednesday, a league source confirmed. Robey-Coleman (5-foot-8, 180) isn’t equivalent to three-time Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay, last week’s Eagles trade acquisition, but he is a notable addition to the defensive backfield.
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Pro Football Focus’s rankings can be quirky, but PFF graded Robey-Coleman 16th among NFL corners last season when he played for the Los Angeles Rams. Avonte Maddox was the top Eagles corner, ranked 85th. Of course, if NFL decision-makers agreed with PFF, Robey-Coleman would have signed somewhere last week and for more than one year.
Robey-Coleman, 28, is a seven-year vet who played four years in Buffalo after the Bills signed him as an undrafted free agent from USC. He came to Los Angeles as a free agent in 2017 and is most famous for being the guy who wasn’t penalized for his hit on New Orleans wide receiver Tommylee Lewis well before the ball arrived, depriving the Saints of at least a chance to run the clock down before kicking a go-ahead field goal in the NFC championship game following the 2018 season. The Rams went on to win in overtime, with Robey-Coleman admitting he’d thought there would be a flag. He ended up being fined $26,739 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play.
This play led to the rules change allowing coaches to challenge noncalls on pass interference.
Last week, the Rams declined an option season on Robey-Coleman’s three-year, $15.7 million contract. He has been considered one of the league’s better nickel corners; with the Eagles, he will compete for that role with Cre’Von LeBlanc. The team seems to see Maddox as more of an outside corner, competing with Sidney Jones for the spot opposite Slay. Jalen Mills apparently will be a safety, if and when teams convene for 2020.