The Adam Schefter’s and Woj’s of the world are always considered among the most reliable sources in the sporting news game. But in reality, only a few people in the world truly know what’s going on behind closed doors when it comes to player movement. A player’s wife is typically one of the few that has first-hand knowledge of where their husband could be playing next.
On Thursday, Stephon Gilmore‘s wife, Gabrielle, took to Twitter to talk to fans about her husband’s next destination. And to no one’s surprise, an Eagles fan hopped into the conversation to tell Gabrielle that Philly could use some help at the cornerback position.
The Eagles have only landed one big name free agent thus far, but they’ve been connected to numerous players. Maybe this time’s the charm?
Of all the needs facing the Eagles this offseason, cornerback is among the most glaring. Darius Slay is a great CB1, but with Steven Nelson still unsigned, the team doesn’t have any serviceable options to start opposite of Slay. They could default to moving Avonte Maddox back to the outside, but we all saw how terrible that experiment went under Jim Schwartz. Howie needs to find someone to slot in as his team’s CB2, and Gilmore more that fits the billing.
Gilmore has been one of the best corners in football for the past five years or so. He won Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, tallying six interceptions, two touchdowns, and a whopping 20 pass deflections. Gilmore has made the Pro Bowl five out of the last six years, including first-team All-Pro honors in 2018 and ’19.
Despite switching teams mid-season in 2021, Gilmore was still an impact player when healthy. When targeted, Gilmore allowed a completion percentage of 68% along with a passer rating of 78.6. Not to mention a career-best in yards per completion allowed, 9.4.
For Gilmore’s standards, those numbers aren’t as great as he’s accustom to. But he still earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2021 and proved to be an effective player, even at age 31.
As far as scheme fit with the Eagles, Gilmore’s calling card has always been in press-man, something the Eagles ran very little of in 2021 under Jonathan Gannon. Gannon utilized a lot of zone concepts in year one as the Eagles defensive coordinator with a lot of safety help over the top, allowing his corners to play more freely and more aggressively on the ball. This led to a resurgent year for Slay, who finished the season with three interceptions, three touchdowns, and a PFF grade of 81.0, fourth-best among 116 qualifying corners. Gannon’s scheme also helped Avonte Maddox get his career back on track as a nickel corner, finishing the season as the 22nd-best corner in football, according to PFF’s grading system.
Regardless of Gannon’s over-use of zone concepts in 2021, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all he’ll run in the coming years. During his time as the Colts defensive backs coach, his secondary utilized a lot of cover 3 match concepts, which mixes in both zone and man coverage.
Whether or not the Eagles are serious about acquiring Gilmore is yet to be seen, but it goes without saying that he’d be a serious upgrade at the position and give the Eagles one of the better cornerback duos in the entire NFL.