The Philadelphia Eagles are working out free agent cornerback William Jackson III on Tuesday, according to a report from NFL insider Jordan Schultz.
Jackson, who turns 31 in October, is an experienced veteran with 64 career starts over 75 games played. Originally a first-round pick (No. 24 overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals, he signed a three-year, $40.5 million contract with the Washington Commanders in 2021. Jackson fell short of big money expectations (100.4 passer rating allowed in 2021, 121.9 passer rating allowed in 2022) and got traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers last season but never played for them due to dealing with a bulging disc in his back.
The Eagles currently have seven cornerbacks on their roster: Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Josh Jobe, Mario Goodrich, Kelee Ringo, and Eli Ricks. Bradberry missed Week 2 due to a concussion while Maddox suffered what’s believed to be a season-ending pectoral injury.
It remains to be seen exactly how the Eagles will replace Maddox. Goodrich was his in-game replacement at nickel cornerback in Week 2 but the team might want to go in a different direction moving forward. The possibility of Bradberry moving inside to play the slot has been discussed. In that situation, Josh Jobe would see snaps on the outside opposite from Darius Slay.
So, where does Jackson fit in? Given his limited experience playing in the slot, he figures to provide extra depth on the outside. As much as they have hopes for their long-term potential, the Eagles might not want to see Ringo or Ricks getting extensive defensive snaps anytime soon.
We’ll see if the Birds end up signing Jackson or not.