Eagles release cornerback Avonte Maddox after six seasons – NBC

Eagles release cornerback Avonte Maddox after six seasons – NBC Sports Philadelphia

Cornerback Avonte Maddox, who has missed 29 games over the last four years, has been released by the Eagles, a league source said, confirming a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The move was no surprise.

Maddox, 27, was a very good slot machine when healthy, but those healthy plays are becoming increasingly rare.

He missed six games in 2020 with an ankle injury, played in just nine games in 2022 due to ankle, knee and toe injuries and was limited to four games last year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle in September . He returned in the final games of the season, but was nowhere near 100 percent.

With Maddox out for most of the year, the Eagles found themselves in deep trouble trying to commit to an inside cornerback, but never succeeded.

Maddox signed a three-year, $22.5 million extension with $13.3 million guaranteed in November 2021. According to OverTheCap, he had one year left on that contract with a base salary of $6.85 million and a cap hit of $9.676913 million.

If the Eagles were to release Maddox with a designation after June 1 — and it's not yet clear if they have done so — he would add about $1.96 million to their 2024 cap hit and then about $5.76 million US dollars count towards their cap for 2025. If they didn't appoint him after June 1, he would be looking at about $7.72 million in dead money this year. That would equate to about $2 million in savings with no money left over beyond this season.

Maddox was a fourth-round pick in the Eagles' outstanding 2018 draft class, which also gave them Dallas Goedert, Maddox, Josh Sweat and Jordan Mailata without any first-, third-, or fifth-round picks.

He made an immediate contribution as a rookie, starting nine games and picking off two passes. There were only two more interceptions over the next five years. He played 64 games in the Eagles jersey, including 38 as a starter. Maddox and Jalen Mills are the only cornerbacks the Eagles have drafted in the last 20 years who have started at least 30 games as Eagles.

But while the Eagles still had doubts about the position during the offseason, his high salary and frequent injuries made it likely that he would be left off the roster.

With Jason Kelce retiring, Maddox being released, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham no longer under contract and their futures uncertain, and Boston Scott also no longer under contract, the only players under contract in 2018 are Lane Johnson , Jake Elliott, Rick Lovato, Goedert and Sweat , Mailata and Greg Ward.

What's the plan in the slot?

Eli Ricks played 144 of his 301 defensive snaps in the slot last year and showed promise for an undrafted rookie. Zech McPhearson, who began the summer as Maddox's backup, will be healthy after missing all of last year with a torn Achilles tendon. Sydney Brown played 141 of his 335 defensive snaps in the slot, but could miss several weeks into the regular season after suffering a torn ACL on the final day of the regular season.

Mid-year acquisition Bradley Roby played 316 slot snaps but didn't play much at the end of the season and is about to become a free agent. Mario Goodrich had a run in the slot early, but it didn't go particularly well.

“We gave some guys a chance to do that,” Howie Roseman said at the combine. “I have to do a better job of getting more people to play that position.”

And that's likely the plan to target an inside corner either in the draft or free agency, although it's possible the Eagles would re-sign Maddox to a significantly smaller contract that comes with playing time incentives if he gets injured again. Schefter tweeted that both sides will continue negotiations.

But even if they bring him back, the Eagles will still need to dedicate some resources to what has essentially become a starting position because of Maddox's injury history.

Maddox is the second defensive back the Eagles have lost contact with in the past week. They released starting safety Kevin Byard on Friday.