The Philadelphia Eagles have released the often outspoken and seemingly, perpetually irate Cary Williams. The move saves the Eagles $6.5 million in cap room and leaves safety Malcolm Jenkins as the only member of the Eagles’ starting secondary from last season under contract. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher and safety Nate Allen are both expected to become unrestricted free agents on March 10th. Philadelphia has been linked to top free agent cornerback Byron Maxwell throughout the entire off-season and continued to create cap space by not only releasing Williams but cutting long-time mainstay Trent Cole after the team and Cole could not agree to a restructured contract. The move saves the Eagles $8.425 million in cap space. Cole has spent the first 10 seasons of his career in Philadelphia and has registered 85.5 sacks over that span. As for Williams, the 30-year-old defensive back struggled during the first half of the 2014 season but played markedly better during November and December. Both, players should be welcomed by a decent free-agent market.
As for how the Eagles will replace Cole and Williams, the internal options include: nickel corner Brandon Boykin and 2014 1st Round selection Marcus Smith II. Boykin has had a solid career thus far and could be a candidate to start at one of the vacant cornerback positions. However, whether he can match-up against the NFL’s top receivers outside the numbers remains a question. Despite being a first round pick, Smith registered no counting stats last season and was only active for five games. His lack of development during the 2014 season is troubling and it begs the question whether or not the Eagles will look to free-agency or a rather deep draft class in terms edge pass rushers to help a non-existent secondary that ranked 31st out of 32 teams against the pass last season.