The Eagles were without starting cornerback James Bradberry when they edged the Vikings in Week 2. Now they’re set to be without fellow starter Avonte Maddox for additional games, and perhaps the rest of the 2023 season. Maddox is set to undergo surgery for a torn pectoral suffered against Minnesota, per NFL Media, and will be sidelined indefinitely as a result.
The sixth-year veteran, who’s manned the Eagles’ slot cornerback job for much of his career, reportedly had an MRI and sought additional medical opinions before electing for surgery. He’s a lock to be moved to injured reserve (IR), where he’ll be guaranteed at least a four-game absence. Typically, pec tears require anywhere from four to six months to heal after surgery, as CBS News reported.
Maddox has been productive when healthy, logging 31 career pass deflections at the nickel spot. But injuries have plagued him for years, as he’s yet to play a full NFL season and has also finished multiple seasons on IR. He’s the second vet in the Eagles secondary to suffer a potential season-ending injury this year, after special teamer Zech McPhearson.
With Maddox out and Bradberry still recovering from a concussion, it’s possible the Eagles will turn to the trade market to explore emergency help in the defensive backfield.
Here are three possible targets:
Baker is expensive (due $17.9 million in 2023) but could be cut without much penalty in 2024, and he wanted out of Arizona as recently as the spring, before the Cardinals moved some money around to placate the All-Pro. While his listed position is safety, he’s more of a chess piece who plays bigger than he looks. At 0-2, Arizona could soon be motivated to sell, and at 27, Baker — who just sat out Week 2 — could still project as a longer-term addition for Eagles general manager Howie Roseman.
Eagles fans have probably already had their fair share of Mills, who spent the first five years of his career as a confident but merely passable starting corner/safety. But you could do a lot worse scouring for last-minute secondary reinforcements. Relegated to more of a reserve role behind Kyle Dugger, Jabrill Peppers and rookie Christian Gonzalez in New England, Mills still adores Philly, is on a very affordable deal that only runs through 2023 and has experience at almost every spot in the secondary.
The former Browns veteran drew high praise from new Texans coach DeMeco Ryans after a busy Week 1, touting both speed and physicality out of the slot. But at 27, on a one-year deal for a rebuilding club, he shouldn’t be off limits for an in-season move if Houston covets additional draft capital. One of PFF’s highest-graded slot cover men early in 2023, Thomas could conceivably replace Maddox while allowing Bradberry to remain on the outside once healthy.