Playmaker: The Rise Of Brandon Boykin

DIPLOMA IN HAND

There is no element of surprise in the voices of Alfred or Lisa when they talk about their son graduating. This, after all, was the expectation since he first got out of the crib.




"My Mother didn’t get a chance to go to college, and I was the first person from my family to go to college," explained Lisa. "I knew that education would be the way for me as well as any children that I may bring into this world. It started to be our family tradition. So it was an expectation for both our boys. And they knew growing up that it was not an option. It was an expectation in order for them to be successful."

Boykin left Georgia after the fall semester of his senior year to prepare for the draft. That left him short of the credits he needed to graduate with a journalism degree.

So the past two offseasons, he’s committed himself to tying up loose ends. That meant sometimes writing six- or seven-page papers at night and suiting up for OTAs the next day. Earlier this summer, he completed his remaining workload and got his diploma.

"I knew the sooner I did it, the easier it would be, so I didn’t really care what I had to do," Boykin said. "I just wanted to finish."

He learned to take school seriously from an early age. And if he ever doubted how important getting an education was to his parents, seeing how they treated Al cleared things up quickly.

"He played on the best baseball team in the state. I don’t want to put him out like this, he’s gonna be mad," Boykin said with a laugh, pausing for a second. "He didn’t make a good grade or something in some class in high school. They were playing for the state championship in baseball. They made him sit. They made him dress and told the coach to sit him in the dugout and not let him play. So he just was wondering, 'Why am I not in the game?' And they told him afterwards. But that was crazy."

Added Lisa: "Brandon knew if it happened to Al, it would definitely happen to him if he made the same error. So he learned from his brother. He didn’t have to go through any of that."

THE NEXT STEP

Rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews is always looking for ways to get better. So before a training camp practice in early August, he approaches Boykin and suggests the two square off in wide receiver/cornerback one-on-ones that day.

On the first rep, Matthews runs down the seam. He turns towards the quarterback to look for the ball, but Boykin reaches his arm around and swats it to the ground. For Boykin, it’s not about just getting his hand on the football. It's about playing with a violence and physicality that suggest he wants to bury the ball 10 feet underground. He plays every snap - whether it's practice or a playoff game - like he wants to send a message to the receiver and let him know he never had a chance at making the grab.

"He’s intelligent," said Matthews. "It’s one thing for a guy to be physical. It’s one thing for a guy to be fast or athletic. He has a combination of a bunch of things, but he’s extremely intelligent. He’ll come to me after plays and be like, 'I knew you were about to do that.' And it wasn’t even about anything you did. It was about how the other guys lined up. Sometimes you don’t even have a chance against a guy like him. The dude’s just really a great player. Working against a guy like that is priceless."

Later during the same practice, Boykin breaks up a Nick Foles pass attempt to Matthews on an underneath route. Towards the end of the session, he’s matched up with another rookie wide receiver, Josh Huff. Mark Sanchez throws the fade, but Boykin rises up, violently attacks the ball in the air and comes down with the interception.

His helmet gets kicked off in the process, but Boykin doesn’t care. He’s playing with an edge today and stands to his feet in delight, tossing the ball to the sideline as his defensive teammates go nuts.

Any onlooker who watched Boykin that day had the same thought: He very well might be the Eagles' best defensive player.

So why then does he have to stand by his locker day after day and answer questions about why he only played 51 percent of the team’s snaps a year ago?

"I just think I fit best in this scheme inside," said Boykin. "The way that we blitz and the types of routes that we get on the outside are fade routes and things like that. And with our scheme, we’ve got tall corners. They want quicker guys on the inside because, believe it or not, I get just as many balls as they do thrown at me. With my statistics, you would think I was outside, but it’s just because how often we’re on the field and how many chances I get. I really, honestly don’t have a problem with it. I am capable of playing outside. I’m capable of playing inside. And I’m sure at some point, I’m gonna have to play both. So it’s good that I get all these reps."

Boykin’s opinion seems to have changed somewhat from a year ago when he voiced a desire to get a shot as a full-time starter.

But with Kelly and defensive coordinator Billy Davis, not having size on the outside is a problem. When Kelly was first hired, he provided Roseman and the personnel staff with a list of preferred measurables at each position. Given the way that Boykin has performed, combined with the Eagles’ issues against the pass, it’s fair to say that him being 5-foot-9 is a sort of deal-breaker. Kelly covets size on defense and believes the ability to match up with big wide receivers is a must.

While we're only talking about a two-inch gap, there has been no indication that the coaching staff is willing to give Boykin a fair shot at a full-time role - one that would have him start on the outside and move inside when the defense shifts to nickel.

There's also the financial aspect of it. Boykin can restructure his deal and sign an extension with the Eagles after the 2014 season. Or he can play things out and become a free agent after 2015. Outside corners get paid more than nickels. There's certainly a chance that another team would give him that opportunity.

"If you continue to just play and not worry about that stuff, do what you’re supposed to do, I think financially you’ll be taken care of regardless," Boykin said. "I feel like at some point, how much is enough? If you get $50 million as opposed to $70 million, are you really gonna be that mad? I guess you want to get all you can, but at the end of the day, I feel like if I can just take care of my family and be good… I like it here. I love the scheme and the coaching staff and the organization, so God willing, I’ll be here and I’ll let that [work itself out]. I’m just gonna play and try to make as many plays as possible."

Boykin has talked to Al about the different scenarios.

"I think it’s definitely tough," Al said, making it clear that his brother loves playing in Philadelphia. "It’s always in the back of your head. But at the end of the day, it’s a win-now league and he has to focus on the here and now. That’s exactly what he’s doing. He just wants to do whatever the team needs him to do to win. And in the end, after the season’s over or once his contract is up or however things shake out, that’s when he’ll worry about the next step as far as his career is concerned with the outside."

For now, Boykin seems at peace. If he can put together another strong season, he’ll likely be recognized as the top nickel in the league. His family comes to all the home games, and he has his degree in hand. Boykin and his fiancee Tess Echols are planning their wedding in Turks and Caicos for next July.

At just 24 years old, he’s accomplished a lot. But by all indications, there are bigger things ahead.

"When I think about where he is... the first few years, I had to pinch myself," said Lisa. "Like am I really looking at my son? He accomplished his dream. And just a few weeks ago, he graduated. For a mom or a dad, it doesn’t get any better than that."

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  • Presbyton

    Yeah, no reason I can see not to start Boykin outside.

  • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

    Kendricks’ nicknames for him are all A-material. Thanks for the research, Sheil.

  • Grey Letter Person

    Great story, love this guy and think he’s a true baller.

    With that said, by season’s end I think the title of “the Eagles’ biggest playmaker on defense” will belong to Mychal Kendricks. Could have a stud year.

    • NickS, Combine Warrior

      I hope they start a little side competition to figure it out, so long as it doesn’t cause bone-headed play.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    At his height dunking two handed?? I knew he was a baller, but that’s some mad hops there.

    • NickS, Combine Warrior

      Especially in 7th grade. That’s cray cray.

      • peteike

        I faved that but I take issue with a grown man saying cray cray haha, cant stand it

        • NickS, Combine Warrior

          It was for effect. Not a normal part of vocab.

          • peteike

            all good, my wife does it all the time just to spite me, I should be used to it

    • southy

  • TNA

    Great profile Sheil. Thank you.

    BB is definitely a special player. But he has to be considered in the same way we consider Shady or Kendricks. Their ceiling is so high that being great isn’t good enough. They should be utterly dominant at their positions and when they make mistakes, it’s a bit of a disappointment. I see a guy like CW or Fletch and you expect them to give up receptions because the guys they are going against are just better athletes with more talent. But with Boykin and Kendricks, there’s no reason they can’t consistently lock down their assignment on every down they play. It’s not fair to hold them to a different standard, but there really isn’t a ceiling with those guys and if this team is going to get over the hump, they need them to be perfect.

  • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

    Sheil or Tim, would either of you mind asking EVERY coach straight up why BB’s not starting? Then when they talk measurables, could read all of BB’s stats to said coaches? Then when they give another BS answer, could you read all the stats again? If Davis starts on his scheme talk, could you read our secondary’s stats to him? Followed by BB’s stats again? Followed by Pope Matthews’ quotes?

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

      you need to use Lane’s baby pic of buff raisin as your avatar.

      • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

        Need an avatar. Couldn’t find it.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

          in the article.

          http://t.co/pXrO0S266X

          • BleedGreenJames

            ummm…

            I hope that is just a monster outie of a belly button…

          • Uncle Wonder: grindin, Jack!

            Looks like a hernia, which I imagine is par for the course for a child with parents dumb enough to allow him to exert his little muscles to the point he looks like that.

          • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

            Oh. Confession. I saw the article was three pages long and didn’t read it. But this as an avi is a must.

            P.S. This is a killer avi.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

            Very well done

          • BleedGreenJames

            haha, perfect name change as well.

          • dnabrice

            What was your name before?

          • damrvrhunter

            Brandon Boykin, LOL. with some foolish avatar. You never were sure if he was mocking or praising Boykin. Maybe he had no avatar, I really dont remember, nothing memorable.

          • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

            Brandon Boykin, LOL

          • Nicodemus_09

            That lil’ dude looks like (R.I.P.)Michael Clarke Duncan’s Poopy.lol *I hope I didn’t offend anyone. I promise no offense was intended.*

        • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

          Upvote for the name change and the new Avi

    • NickS, Combine Warrior

      Name change and pic change is nothing short of stellar.

  • NickS, Combine Warrior

    BB is giving the right answers, but I don’t think that desire to start full time just all of a sudden went away. Think his brother knows what’s up, though. Do you have to in order to take care of business now. Worry about the contract when it’s time. God-willing, he’s an Eagle. I just don’t give that great odds.

    • Kleptolia

      Remember how much Chip likes specialists. He might very well want to keep Boykin as a secondary specialist, just like he kept Casey Matthews as a special teams specialist.
      I’d bet he gets to stay with a new contract.

      • NickS, Combine Warrior

        Specialists? Thought he liked versatility.

        • Kleptolia

          Sorry, versatile players who can be used in specialized situations.

          • Dominik

            Does “are you crazy, did you just call #50 onto the field?” count as a “specialized” situation?

      • paul from nc

        Please don’t use Boykin and Casey Matthews in the same sentence.

  • Bullwinkle

    The strict enforcement of the no contact rules for DBs might result in Boykin eventually getting a chance at CB. CBs need to be faster and quicker if they are no longer allowed to be physical. Big people can’t beat up little people if they can’t touch them.

    • NickS, Combine Warrior

      I called in 97.5 when T-Mac was on last week and posited that question.

      • peteike

        ya I just brought it up at the top, always late to the story line. Didnt bother to scroll and read, its a great point but we wont know until we see how they call it in reg season games.

    • aub32

      Unfortunately, that only applies to one side of the ball. As we saw in the Steelers game, WRs can run straight into CBs and still the CB gets flagged. So we would look at Boykin being the little person being beat up by the big person since he plays defense.

  • southy

    I think if we are all honest with ourselves (coaches included) no one can say with a straight face that Boykin on the outside would be worse than Cary or Fletch because he gives up a couple inches. He probably makes up for that and then some with his vertical leap alone. I understand that for this scheme they want tall guys outside and they think Boykin is better at slot because he gets the chance to focus on it, but honestly, if there are two corners on the field, there’s not a very strong argument that he not be one of them.

    • Amar, CB who bought in

      I still remember the pass deflected from Dez Bryant. I said, this guy doesn’t care for size.

  • Dominik

    For all the users who think we will lose Boykin: when was the last time the Eagles really wanted to keep a player and lost him?

    2nd question: do you really think the Eagles don’t like this guy really (I mean really…) much?

    Howie has been rolling over this cap like there is no tomorrow. We cry about needing upgrades (rightfully so), he keeps the pocket closed as much as he can. Why? Just look at this freaking 2012 draft class. The 3 years to judge aren’t over yet, but there are very good players (Foles, Boykin) and very promising players (Kendricks, Cox) in it.

    Of course Foles will get his big share, because he’s the QB. But you can bet that there will be enough money for us to re-sign these players if we want to. And with Boykin, we sure want to.

    We can debate Howies evaluation skills (this 2012 draft class speaks for it, but it’s another topic), but this man knows about the cap.

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

      in their defense, many of the commenters say that no coach, culture, or contract will overcome his proven and stated desire to start full-time on the outside. which whether or not they were correct, was premised on a statement he made.
      above, he is quoted alluding to just the opposite. Is one more truthful than the other? did he mature? or is he political? who knows? but as you say, the Eagles seem to have will and ability to sign.
      I think it’s still unknown. and his limited snaps this year or strictly inside role is still premature in trying to determine his decision-making process re: staying in Philly

      • Dominik

        I think Boykin won’t care as long as (a) the money is right and (b) he is recognized as a great player [and being the best slot CB kind of fits that bill].

        You have to remember that the Eagles are the only team that can pay him in 2015. Those players want the guar. money and they want money as soon as possible. If Howie makes a reasonable offer, I think he will sign it.

        Like the great article from Sheil points out, Boykin knows how fast his career can turn around in a negative way. He won’t sign a low contract just to be on the safe side, but I don’t think he will decline a reasonable offer just because he could possibly (look at Verner – size does matter, and teams where it doesn’t matter know that it they have to pay less…) could get a great offer a year later.

        • aub32

          I agree. I think we have to wait and see what the Eagles offer him after this year. I hope they do not try and low ball him.

          • Dominik

            “I hope they do not try and low ball him.”

            I agree. Of course, in the SC age, don’t overpay the guy, but let’s not pretend he’s some kind of low level player.

            On the other hand, Howie doesn’t like to do that. Banner, of course. He’d punch him in the face right after the signature just because he can. But Banner isn’t here anymore.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

            I think it will be a very fair deal.
            As Cliff has noted, cap is going up. Will help with Foles deal as well, assuming he plays/earns it.
            Also, assumption is Boykin is exactly the situation Howie does not mind paying for. He’s explicitly stated numerous times that the organization has all the cap room for the expectation of signing home-grown talent. He’s eyed the 2015 offseason as critical for this reason, expecting some guys to need $. Boykin fits all the criteria Howie cites; what better example is there at this juncture (barring Cox or Kendricks having big years).
            I fully expect the Eagles to take advantage of their exclusive rights window to make a good offer. Just differing camps on the opinion of whether Boykin would accept, based on priorities of $$, role, organization, etc. in his mind.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            I’m in the Henny camp. If they make him a reasonable offer I don’t see how in the hell he could turn it down…. sign for 10-12 mil guaranteed over 3 years with incentives or bet on yourself for one year 700k and risk injury, drop in play, etc… Flacco did it, but QB’s are very well protected in this league. Guy like Boykin throwing his body around constantly, I’d have to guess that he’d take the set for life type money as soon as it’s available.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            the one question I really don’t know is, what could BB do if he held out, forced a trade. can that trading team extend him? i’ll bet there’s clauses that even if traded, new team cant extend him. would close a major loophole. if not, there’s a huge mess coming

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            Yea that would be a crap storm creating loop hole.

            I don’t think he’d hold out at all (new CBA murders players for doing it), but if I had to surmise a scenario in which he would I’d say it’d only happen if he get’s nothing offered to him (the expectation that he’ll play out the rook deal). I don’t see the Eagles offering him nothing at all. Parallel to that, I think he knows that holding out if he IS offered something by the Eagles will kill his credibility with other teams. With the direction defenses are headed I don’t see many GM’s taking on a headache like that for boat loads of money with not enough of a track record to justify all of it.

            p.s.

            I’m not saying he’s not a good player, but he doesn’t have the track record of a Revis or someone like that to just leverage one team into letting him walk so he can get mega-bucks elsewhere.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            yup good points. I honestly think all these rookies, non 1st rdrs, just are dying for that 2nd contract. these rookie 2nd rd picks on back are getting peanuts

          • damrvrhunter

            I know this train is quickly picking up run away momentum in your minds. Apply the brakes a little and ask yourself if the organizations values slot corner as highly as you do. Do they believe that Boykin is heads and shoulders above Carroll or Watkins after one year in their system. I am going to guess that finding replacement for Kendricks is a heckuva more difficult than finding someone to play the slot. Hence the pay will reflect the reality. They may not go all out resigning Boykin.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            though if they don’t, it pretty much is going against everything they’ve been preaching. draft, develop and get controllable contracts. see it with FA they are signings, too. if not going to reward BB, who the heck are they?

          • damrvrhunter

            They will offer him a contract extension but I am not sure they value slot corner as a “max-contract”(to borrow a phrase from the association) type position.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            I agree. it’s a work habit, I use numbers probably too often in examples, just a numbers guy. don’t know if it’s 8m-10m-12m, whatever, it’ll be a lot more than 700k. Howie is also giving out fair contracts, don’t think he’ll all of a sudden decide BB is the guy he’s going to rake over coals.

      • Amar, CB who bought in

        I think people want to play for Chip and the Eagles. Take Mark Sanchez for example. He had a few options and yet he chose the Eagles. Brandon Graham keeps harping on his desire to be with the Eagles even though he will get a better contract and starting role for a 4-3 team.

        • Dominik

          Sorry, but Graham won’t be here in 2015. He can talk all the talk he wants (it’s nice, don’t get me wrong) but he would be stupid to sign with us and the Eagles would be stupid to offer him something significant. A deal has to be good for two sides, in this situation, it isn’t even good for one.

          • Amar, CB who bought in

            I’m not arguing for or against BG. I was just saying that the players want to stay with the Eagles since they like the culture and believe the team is slated for big things.

          • aub32

            I think that applies to the offense, but not so much for the defense. Offensive guys are having their best seasons under Chip. DJax supposedly didn’t fit Chip’s scheme, but he made changes to get him his best year. Chip made adjustments when Vick went down and Foles came in. Yet the same can’t be said for the defense. Our starting personnel is much better suited for a 4-3, but Chip insists on running a 3-4. Boykin has expressed a desire to play outside, but the coaching staff seems hell bent against that ever happening. So I can definitely see offensive players and FAs wanting to stay or come play for Chip. I would argue defensive players don’t feel the same way.

          • Amar, CB who bought in

            I agree that have a roster that would make any 4-3 Def Coord giddy with excitement.
            Cole-Cox-Curry-Graham
            Barwin-Meco-Kendricks
            Tell me what’s wrong with that.

          • paul from nc

            It’s another one of the “football decisions”

    • aub32

      I don’t think anyone here has said that the Eagles will not make the guy an offer. The question is how much. Will the Eagles pay a slot CB like they would a starting CB on the outside? With another year like he had in 2013, you can bet Boykin will be on the radar for plenty of teams, if he is not already. I find it hard to believe that there aren’t teams that would not give him a chance to start outside and pay him handsomely to do so, especially teams in a cover 2 system where size isn’t as big a factor.

      • Dominik

        I replied to TCMR to kind of the same comment. Just so you don’t think I ignore the reply.

    • Token

      I admit im tired of the conversation. Its not hard to understand really. Boykin wants to start. he will get opportunities elsewhere to start for starter money. Why would he sign here? Because Howie is a swell guy? Come on.

      This theory not only forgets that Boykin has a mind of his own but also assumes that Howie is gonna pay starters money to a CB who play probably less then 50% of the snaps this season.

      • aub32

        Though I am also in the fear of losing Boykin camp, I do hold out some hope. We know how much Chip preaches STs. Perhaps there’s a chance that Boykin’s ability as a gunner in addition to being the best slot CB in the league drives up his value to the point Roseman does offer him starter money.

        • NickS, Combine Warrior

          I pray you’re right.

        • cliff h-MOAR white goons

          if anything, the part where he says ’50m or 70m’, is good news. it’s not like BB becomes a free agent, Eagles could force him to play for 700k. sounds like a guy ready to see a 3yr 18m with 10m guaranteed. 10m is a lot of money. plus he’ll be in prime for that 3rd contract.

          • damrvrhunter

            Very reasonable numbers maybe a tad generous for a slot corner but am ok(not that the front office cares) giving that to home grown talent.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            by then cap will be 140m/150m/160m next 3 yrs. everyone is getting 25% raise. saw some of those contracts being handed out this spring, some were lot bigger than expected. Eagles haven’t dipped into that future increase much at all yet. could be 60m under cap next spring. class of ’12 is getting paid. should be enough left over for impact player-like Orakpo. get people wanted that 1 or 2 more guys being 20m under would get them, but holding off 1 yr could be incredibly smart long term.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            Best. Cap. Guy. Here. … Cliff Henny ladies and gents.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            ha. tell you, did like the line about 50-70m. mean, he’s never getting that money, just saw it as a guy who wants that first monster check. 10m is a lot of money! way CBA is set up, if they show it in yrs 1-3, and drafting team gives reasonable offer (which Howie does, it’s not like he’s undercutting these players, he just controls length), should be able to retain rights if just for a couple more years. actually see signing Cox long term harder than BB. Cox is getting paid now regardless(‘allas has similar issue with Dez). whether Eags pick up 5th yr, resign him after 4, do neither and let him go to open market.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            I think Boykin leaves only if the offer he gets elsewhere (assuming they let him become a free agent as opposed to extending him after this season) is astronomically better or if it’s on par but he believes the team has a better shot at glory. Like you (and he) said, 50 mil, 70 mil… both set for life. At a certain point for some of these guys I’m sure success outside of your bank account means at least a little something.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            true, if they don’t extend him in spring, all bets are off. I just see a win – win scenario for both parties.

          • B-West

            I respect your cap hustle, but that seems VERY team friendly to me. If he has another solid year, building on last year and looks even better, 3/10/18 will be an insult.

            And if the cap does continue to rise as you suspect, that just means there will be dumb money flying everywhere, raising the bar. We’re talking about a guy who could very reasonably see himself as top 10-15 guy at his position, who just doesn’t get to play that much.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            of course it’s team friendly, they are buying him out of 700k. it’s win-win. he may be worth more than that on the open market, but he wont be on the open market. if he signs a contract like I describe, he’d have to play out 700k, then sign a 2 yr 17m w/9m guaranteed, to break even, while risking 16 nfl games. I know I wouldn’t do that. 10m guaranteed.
            .
            yeah, I not pretending to know the exact numbers, but it’ll be in that range. he might get 3ys 20m w/ 12m G’d, but there is some inherent discount from buying out rookie yr.

          • B-West

            Fair enough, and I can see that side of it. I disagree with how much leverage that final year of the rookie deal provides for the team, but it’s a possibility. Actually, this was the first year of rookie extensions right? Kelce signed a pretty team friendly deal I guess. It’ll def be team friendly as the years go by. I’ll have to look closer at some of the other deals.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            there’s 2 leverages, 1st is playing out rookie yr or signing extension. most of the time this wont matter, just coming up with Curry(maybe, more likely doubtful) and Boykin. Kendricks or FOles, they’d sign an ext today. think team has a ton of leverage there. 2nd, buying out contract/money-how much players get paid leverage. that’s a little hazy, I have no idea what that is, have to assume some.
            .
            believe Kelce was last draft class under old CBA, just that draft class sucked, so no real issue in finding rookie extension money.

          • B-West

            No, the 2011 draft class is the guinea pig. That’s why Kaep and Dalton got extended this year. Peterson and Smith of Dallas got their monster deals, too. San Fran played it safe and took the 5th year option with Aldon Smith. Like you said tho, it’s gone under the radar considering our 2011 class.

            My 5 minutes of research show spread results, mainly depending on the player. And as we know, that’s what it will come down to with Boykin as well.

            I’d love to see a deep dive by somebody into this first year of contract extensions under the new CBA. Sheil?

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            ok, guess Eags are just a yr behind, since ’11 draft class sucked. think 1st rd picks will get that 5th yr picked up mostly. that seems like 6 one way half dozen another, all depends on how it fits best under teams cap. assuming player warrants it. not much of a difference between 5th yr option then franchise tagging 6th, so have that in back pocket to work out extension. GMs know they have to work in space to pay those guys.
            .
            Dez didn’t get his yet. nor did Murray. Dez is going to cost them some serious money. he’s nuts, but really good. think they are going to franchise tag him next yr. just don’t have the space this year to funny money one of JJ’s contracts.

          • B-West

            These convos always lead me back to thinking about how smoked the players got in the last CBA. We’re definitely heading toward another lockout, and quickly.

            Look at JJ Watt… Absolute stud since he came in the league. Four year rookie deal for 11 mil total. 7 mil for 5th year. Then they can franchise him. He’ll get paid on the franchise tag, but that’s 6 years of star level play for about 35 mil. And that’s 6 years in the league before he gets long term money. That’s a lot of time to keep from getting banged up.

          • aub32

            Yea, but the other side of it is that under the old CBA, there’s no way we would have been able to cut Watkins loose as early as we did. I think the fair thing would be to allow rookies to hit FA after their 3rd year with a 4th year option on first rounders that is essentially a franchise tag. The problem is the NFL doesn’t have a farm league, and college players have no say with the NCAA let alone the NFL. So vets are always going to do what’s best for current players and end up screwing future players in the long run. I guess that’s what happens when you only get 16 game checks, and the lifespan of your career is so short. You can’t really afford to holdout.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            oh yeah, they got crushed. add a 7th, they can transition tag him. the vets sold rookies not in league out, ran over them with a bus, and lit them on fire.

          • aub32

            True. Again, will Howie offer that type of money to a slot guy? Will the team push their leverage too far to the point Boykin decides to bet on himself and play for less money in order to get a huge payday. You have to believe he’s having these kind of conversations with his agent, especially with the type of money being spent this offseason at the CB position.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            I get that point, but is Howie handing out FU/take it or leave it contracts? he signed Peters to nice deal, didn’t have to. Kelce got nice money, he could have dragged that out couple years (could use franchise tag in ’15). Nate Allen, think he was sprinting to that closing, 2m, I’d have offered vet min and made him pay plane fare to Philly. just saying, not running the show like the sweaty greasy evil b@st@rd Banner.

          • aub32

            Yes, but he didn’t really have much leverage with Peters and Kelce. We need Peters, and Kelce left money on the table. Allen got what he got and should be grateful. We have yet to see what Howie does when he has a lot of leverage over a player. Also, Boykin may want a nice chunk of change. Playing at 700K may be worth it in his mind if it means 20M guaranteed vs 10M.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            think Eagle treated Peters really well going thru Achilles. they paid him to rehab when didn’t have too. kelce, yeah, they could have strung him out with franchise tag. he’s making 5m per, eagles could have let him play for rookie wage then franchised. not sure what franchise center makes, but bet it’s less than 9m. think Kelce also gave slight hometown discount, which is reasonable to get out from under rookie wage.
            .
            my assumption here is Howie will give fair contract. also assuming inherent buying out rookie wage, just like kelce.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            That’s just the thing though.. 10M guaranteed in writing after this season is just that; 10M guaranteed. Thinking / Hoping someone will offer you 20M next year is not guaranteed at all.

          • aub32

            That’s why players have agents though. Agents know that stats turn into dollars. CBs made a killing this off season. Boykin has gotten better each year. I went back to look at his stats from 2013, and they are nuts considering how little he played. If he can replicate the same in 2014, you’d have a hard time convincing me the guy wouldn’t bet on himself. He doesn’t need to go out like Flacco did. DeSean had his worst year in 2011 and got paid in 2012.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            I agree with all that you’re saying. My comment was more of a semantic point of view. The only guarantee he can possibly have at the end of this season is whatever the Eagles offer him. Trying to predict what he’ll have “guaranteed” to him after 2015 is not an exact science, a gamble.

          • aub32

            Very much a gamble, but I have to think after reading about him and watching his play, that he would choose to bet on himself any day and twice on Sunday.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            I don’t disagree at all.

        • damrvrhunter

          Think outside of the box for just a minute. Do you honestly believe that with an entire off season of minis, OTAs and TC that Jaylen Watkins could not replicate what you are getting out of Boykins in the slot? Last I remember the guy Boyking beat out was also a pretty good slot CB. It is a position where serviceable is more than enough for the most part. He is an awesome player and individual, a really fantastic kid but he is not suited(measured) to be an outside corner.

          • aub32

            I do not. Watkins has potential, but I thought more highly of Boykin before we drafted him. I believe he would’ve gone in the second round if not for the injury. Every team has a slot corner, and most if not all of them aren’t as good as Boykin. So to just assume that we would get a Boykin level slot player only two years after we get Boykin is a bit too optimistic for me.

          • damrvrhunter

            We agree to disagree.

          • aub32

            That’s fine. I think your argument is built on nothing but hope. Boykin competed with and outright beat Hanson for the starting nickel spot his rookie season. Watkins has not shown anything close to what we saw from Boykin. Please feel free to share why you think Watkins will make such a leap that isn’t just “he will have time in the system”, because I could have made that exact same argument for casey Matthews a few years ago.

          • damrvrhunter

            The bottom line is I am saying that slot CB is an easily replaceable position hence it does not warrant big money. Watkins flashed enough to make the team happy at this point: made a rookie mistake on the 74 yard TD recovered by making a really nice INT a few drives later. Is reported to have above average football IQ much like the BoyKing and if not for a bum ankle at the combines would have out measured the Boyking except for the vertical. So sitting in Howie’s deep brown oak desk a year from today the question I am pondering is whether to re-up Boykin for 10+ mil guaranteed or keep him at 700k and “replace” him with Watkins my combo slot/safety in 2016. Remember this organization does know when and where to pinch $$$.

          • aub32

            Based on what I have seen, I think Watkins has 2 years, including this one before he’s ready to start. I also think the team wants him outside to pair with NCII. Though I see your point now about using him as leverage over Boykin. I just think the dropoff from BB to JW is going to be much bigger than you do, especially in 2015. I also think the Eagles will offer Boykin something close to his actual value, or at least I hope they do since they aren’t going to spend the money in FA.

      • Dominik

        Howie will pay playmaker money for playmakers. Watch out.

      • macadood

        maybe 50% of the snaps but tons of plays made during that 50%…more than any other defensive player I’d say. Well worth paying and reaping the rewards

      • MagatBrackendale

        Why not pay starter’s money?

        “Only Seattle’s Richard Sherman had more picks than Boykin last year. In terms ofcombined interceptions and passes defensed, Boykin ranked fifth with 23, behind only Sherman, Cleveland’s Joe Haden, Baltimore’s Lardarius Webb and then-Titans CB Alterraun Verner.”

        • Token

          I think you are all living in a fantasy world. But there no sense in arguing about it anymore. Enjoy him while hes here.

      • mawst95

        There are so many factors at play beyond money and starting. Liking the city, family, and, perhaps more importantly, a chance to win, be part of a good organization, like your teammates and coaches. Then add in guaranteed money, number of years, incentives, and that the Eagles hold negotiating advantages.

        The Eagles are not cheap and as Dominik wisely said (and as far as I can tell no one has countered his argument) that the Eagles rarely if ever fail to keep a player they really want to keep. Now you could attempt to argue that Chip values measurables over actual playmaking ability or that some current talent on the roster is ill suited to the current D scheme, but that’s a different issue and one that will play out over the next few years.

        • paul from nc

          “the Eagles are not cheap”
          That;s an Action News Alert

    • B-West

      Howie’s cap management is another tired argument, but saving cap space does not speak to cap management brilliance. It’s not an either/or scenario. You can maximize spending while still being in position to resign players. This can be done with length of deals and early termination options and all the contract goodies that we hear about 3 days after signings are announced.

      If anything, Howie has missed an opportunity to maximize the talent on the roster while there is a plethora of cheap contributors on rookie deals. The degree of difficulty for roster building only goes up once you start paying these guys.

      Perhaps they played it conservative because of the recent regime change or lingering scars from the Dream Team. Regardless of their reasoning, it’s hard to deny that a 15 million dollar infusion of talent on the defensive side of the ball would have this team better primed for a run this season.

      • aub32

        I think Howie’s cap management is better than most. Though the 2011 FA class did not amount to what we wanted on the field, we were not hampered by them all being released two years later. I agree that the team could have and should have done more this offseason with the available cap space. However, that may have more to do with Chip than Howie, as it’s clear from the release of DeSean and the players we drafted that Chip gets plenty of say so in determining who gets put on the roster.

        • B-West

          I agree that the spending strategy may have been more of a Chip decision than a Howie decision, but it does little to change my opinion of the strategy. I’m generally pro Howie anyway, and of course I love Chip thus far.

          As for Howie’s cap management, it’s unproven to me. The best GMs ‘ride the line’ so to speak, always right around the salary cap but have the money to make moves. It’s relatively easy to play it conservative as Howie has thus far. Or, if he was heavily involved in 2011, splurge when you have the money. I think the truly talent GMs ride the line that I spoke of.

          Back to this past offseason’s strategy… I heard a good analogy that I think applies (although I can’t remember where, maybe on a BS Report). They were talking about whether it was best to have your championship contending window open as long as possible, or as wide as possible. I’m an as wide as possible guy, particularly in the NFL. The entire system of the NFL is designed for parity. Everyone says this when thinking of bad teams turning it around. However, they forget that parity also pulls good teams back down toward the middle of the pack (lower draft picks and a salary cap/free agency system that makes it tough to keep everyone). I think that if you have a team that truly has a shot at a title, you push your chips in and take a shot. Open that window as wide as possible. Give me Revis and Ward and Ware on contracts that I might regret in two years, add that to the offense and let’s go.

          Now, Howie and Chip seem to pretty clearly be “as long as possible” window guys. They want to develop the culture and build through the draft and have a solid, in contention team year in and year out. Draft, develop, and resign our own guys, stay out of free agency. Early indications are that they’ll be very good at that, and I have faith in both coach and GM as a fan. It’s just a different strategy.

  • bsn

    See, the size match up is a problem for me. Boykin may be 5’9 but I guarantee his vertical is greater than Fletcher, Carroll, or Williams. If he’s 3-5 inches shorter but has a vertical that’s 10 more, Boykin can compete for balls even higher than the taller guys. And it’s not like he’s a small 5’9. Dude is huge.

    • Robert Baer

      I’ve been thinking the same since this size thing became an issue.

    • aub32

      The other players are pro football players as well. So though he may jump higher, I doubt it’s that significant. Also, his vertical has nothing to do with being boxed out for the ball or players being able to out stretch him due to having a longer reach.

  • JosephR2225

    I understand his size is a limitation and you don’t want him exposed to bigger receivers on the outside. Dez Bryant being covered by Brandon Boykin is a win every time for the Cowboys, because no matter how tight the coverage is I think Dez Bryant goes up and gets that ball…

    What I don’t understand is why they don’t use Boykin in a matchup-specific way. In their first few games they are going up against Cecil Shorts/Marqise Lee, T.Y. Hilton and Desean Jackson. None of those guys have a remarkable size advantage over Boykin and they all play on the outside. Why not play Boykin on those guys when they are outside or the other team is in 2 WR sets and move him inside when they bring in a third WR? Or if you’re going up against a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have big WR options across the board, use Boykin as a regular nickel back like they do now? That’s what the Cowboys did with their best DB (Scandrick) last year and he was on the field for 95.5% of defensive snaps. Granted, the Cowboys defense isn’t something most teams want to emulate, but it should be about getting your best players on the field, shouldn’t it?

    • aub32

      I have seen several people bring up this point, and I do not agree with it. First off our CBs do not change sides. So in the Colts game, what happens if Reggie Wayne lines up against Boykin. Also, the notion that Boykin can line up and play DJax is unproven. I have seen the two face off. The results do not resemble what most fans want to happen. We know DeSean better than most. Jamming him at the line is a better way of stopping him than trying to match his speed and athleticism. So our bigger CBs are probably our best bet.

      You are not accounting for scheme when you allude to the Cowboys. The Cowboys were a cover 2 defense last year. Smaller CBs can excel on the outside playing that system. Carr and Claibourne are both press man CBs. So they didn’t really play well in the system, which led to Scndrick playing outside.

      • JosephR2225

        Our CBs do not change sides. I don’t know why that necessarily means they cannot change sides. It takes the commitment to the notion that Boykin is a playmaker worth adapting your scheme around. I think he is. That would help prevent the Wayne/Boykin matchup you referenced (though admittedly it doesn’t eliminate it, as there were plenty of examples of Chip moving Desean around the formation last year to get favorable matchups, and the Colts could do the same with Wayne. Though they could still do that with Boykin in the slot, if they chose to).

        I brought up Desean as an example of an outside WR against who Boykin is not at a size disadvantage, but that is my point. If you believe that Boykin can cover Desean, put him there. If you don’t, put him on Roberts in the slot, which is how they use him now, or Garcon outside, against whom Boykin also doesn’t have too great a size disadvantage and runs a ton of underneath routes, which are what Boykin is best at.

        And I alluded to Scandrick also just as an example of a CB moving inside/outside based on matchups and personnel groupings. Obviously tweaks would have to be made for the Eagles, but I think they would do well to get Boykin on the field for more than 51% of defensive snaps, and that’s just an idea on how to do it.

        • aub32

          You can’t change an entire defensive scheme for one player, which is exactly what you are proposing. Our CBs don’t change sides. That is by design, and plenty of other teams do the same. If Boykin goes outside, and he has to follow T.Y. guess what that means for the other CB. They are going to be forced to change sides as well and play with the sideline to the opposite of what they are used to. Look around the league. Only three or four players switch sides, and I would not put Boykin in their class. Also, I get why you brought up the Scandrick example, but you are comparing apples to oranges. You can’t look at a scheme in which the size of a CB matters very little and compare it to a scheme where CBs are asked to press and jam WRs.

          Now if you want to make the point that we should not be running Davis’s defense, that’s a different story. I would agree because I think a 4-3 or 4-3U would fit the majority of our defensive personnel much better. However, that would still leave Boykin on the inside, unless you are suggesting we run a cover 2 with him and NCII

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            Unless that player is Reggie White.

          • aub32

            There are exceptions to every rule, and those exceptions are usually hall of fame players.

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            Yup. And really, there’s no wrong time to bring up Reggie White. Best Defensive Player Ever.

          • ION Eagles

            Preach

          • JosephR2225

            Well, per PFF it’s more than three or four players, it’s probably closer to 8 or 9. 17 CBs played “shadow corner” in 2013 following one receiver around the field, per PFF. So I don’t think Boykin necessarily needs to be Joe Haden or Patrick Peterson to make it work.

            My argument is just that if you believe Boykin’s skill set is better suited for the inside position, fine. I can’t argue with that, and obviously there are more differences between playing inside and outside CB than just that slot WRs are typically smaller than outside WRs. But if you are keeping him inside because you believe that he gives up too much size versus the guys he is being asked to cover, then I think there are ways to mitigate that sufficiently to allow you to keep your best CB and probably your best defensive playmaker on the field.

          • aub32

            I understood your point. However, the points you bring up would require a scheme change to either a zone system or moving around CBs who aren’t used to switching sides. I personally do not think either of those two options make sense just to give Boykin a “chance” on the outside, where he honestly may struggle.

          • JosephR2225

            I agree he may struggle on the outside, like I said if you think his skill set and his size are suited exclusively for the inside, then it never makes sense to move him outside. But if that’s not the case, I think it’s worth a shot. Maybe I’m underestimating the difficulty associated with moving CBs who aren’t used to switching sides. It doesn’t seem to me like it should be a deal breaker.

          • aub32

            I would agree with giving him reps in the preseason, but it’s too late now. I don’t think the regular season should be used to experiment with our already less than stellar secondary.

    • Dominik

      I like the idea. And I wouldn’t rule it out, for this season or longterm, to be honest with you. Remember, next year maybe Fletcher and CWill are gone. That would leave Carroll and Boykin + maybe Watkins or a rookie/FA as #3.

      I don’t get this “don’t change sides” thing in general if you have two different CBs. I mean hell, Belichick apparently wants to do it with Revis and Browner. Wtf? Belichick knows about 10000 times more about football than I do, but to me, it makes 0 sense. And I see smart offensive coaches like Chip or Payton who take advantage of this kind of thing.

      If you have Fletcher and CWill – fine. You can do that. They are pretty “mirrored”. If you have Boykin and Carroll + x, just don’t do it.

  • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

    I want a Boykin jersey badly, but I’m afraid it’ll be useless next season. This guy was special from his first game against Baltimore with a leaping pass break up to seal the game. Please stay here in midnight green Boy-King!

  • Guest

    http://i.imgur.com/PIayGqL.jpg

    dude makes plays on and off the field

    huehuehuehuehue

    • Andy Six Score and Four

      NSFW lol

  • Kleptolia

    This is one of those Chip Kellt head-scratching points I’ve mentioned in the past.
    If Kelly isn’t starting Boykin, he has a reason. That reason may not make sense to us, and it might be proved to be false reasoning down the line, but it’s Chip’s reason and he’ll stick to it until proven wrong. (HIT THE HOLE, SHADY!)

  • BuddyBall

    Don’t get me wrong: I love Boykin. He is – by far – the best corner on the team, and probably the Birds’ best defensive player.
    That said, it’s worth noting that Chip’s preference for longer corners isn’t made without reason, and Boykin’s insane vertical isn’t always going to make up for his “short”comings (see what I did there?). Sometimes, a corner needs to rely on their natural length. He might be giving chase and won’t be in position to put the most into his jump. Or, he might need to reach across a receiver, or lay out horizontally to get to a ball. Boykin’s vertical is great (and his talent even more impressive), but sometimes, there’s no way to make up for what he wasn’t given genetically.

    • peteike

      I dont buy it, rather have a guy who can stay with a WR then get beat by steps all day. Also with new rules, maybe that will change and you’ll need faster corners instead of physical ones, remains to be seen though.

    • NickS, Combine Warrior

      What about when the shorter corner has far more natural AND physical talent, such is the case with Boykin?

    • BuddyBall

      To be clear, on this current team with our current corners, I’m all for Boykin starting on the outside and moving to the slot in the nickel. Long term, though, I totally get Kelly’s interest in finding longer guys on the outside, especially as the receivers seem to keep getting bigger.

    • Token

      Complete BS. When will this myth that NFL corners are all 6’5 go away? And the Eagles play one of the most passive defenses in the league as far as secondary goes. Size means nothing.

      • Andy Six Score and Four

        That’s not what she said.

        • Dominik

          Sadly, what Token said also wasn’t what he (BuddyBell) said.

    • damrvrhunter

      Few people around these parts want to hear you say that uncomfortable truth. I really really like the guy and want him as our NICKEL corner for as long as possible but not at the price of a pro bowl outside corner. Much like Desean if we lose him I would not grieve over it. Neither fits what we do the majority of the time but on those occasions where they really stand out makes for some awesome highlight videos.

      • NickS, Combine Warrior

        “Neither fits what we do the majority of the time” I disagree. We’ve never had the privelege of finding out because of his height.

        • damrvrhunter

          They are not going to sacrifice the requisite measurable just to prove to you(a section of the fan base) that he will be a liability on the outside. If he ever gets the chance to play outside somewhere else I would make a friendly wager payable through paypal that his height will be an issue. since no one else has said this I will say it, on the inside space and time is so much smaller and quicker where his athleticism shines but even then balls got completed against him plenty enough but he always tackled promptly limiting the damage. On the outside he will get stuck on the island for longer periods of time and there his height will matter, the yards given up will be exponentially larger. The defensive staff is able to infer that that will be the outcome of putting him on the outside. It is ridiculous to demand that the staff waste precious practice time running bad experiments just to sate a fan base. Last off season it was this same nonsensical type argument centered around Vinny Curry, a player that can not two gap on non obvious passing downs, what does it matter if he can shoot the gap all day long while the offense runs the ball into the other gap he has vacated?

          • NickS, Combine Warrior

            The problem is not about satisfying myself, or most of the rest of the fans who wonder the same. It’s about the fact that the base secondary blows. The corners don’t press and they aren’t great at covering. Hell, we’re cover 3 half the time. Why keep talent off the field in favor of lesser talent? That’s the point. Talent wins over measurables every day. They keep things in front of them and make tackles, which limits the alleged exposure you note. Boykin can do that just as well, if not better. And since he is such a sure tackler, that’s not an issue either. As for the balls caught against him & playing inside v outside, it’s actually harder to defend the slot than it is the outside. The outside provides you with space and a sideline to function as an added defender. Inside, you have to have heightened awareness to make sure you’re not running into people, plus the WR has more options as to where he can move…. RE Curry, if memory serves me correctly, most of that debate was when it’d be presumed we’d be a 4-3U, not a 2-gapping 3-4.

          • damrvrhunter

            So let me see if I got this right, Billy Davis and company know they have a significant upgrade over Fletcher and Sconces but have decided not to upgrade ? They rather be saddled with the worst pass defense in the league, is that right? Or could it be that they know Boykin at best gives them the same exact results as with the current starters while simultaneously weakening the slot defense in the process. The worst case scenario being that he might actually perform worse than the the current duo. So I ask you which of the above conclusions make more sense?

          • peteike

            youre assuming that coaches dont have egos that would prevent a better player from even seeing the outside to even know the answer. From all accounts I have never heard of them ever trying, hence the debate and comments from the coaches on the subject keeping him in nickel.

          • damrvrhunter

            You are right that is an assumption that I am taking for fact. I believe that Todd Lyght and Davis together with Chip have had a long conversation on this topic and “agreed” that maintaining the status quo best serves the Eagles for at least one more season.

          • NickS, Combine Warrior

            You think there was a lengthy discussion about Chip’s measurables requirements?

          • paul from nc

            But why didn’t they try him on the outside during pre season, just to find out? That seems like a nothing to lose scenario.

          • NickS, Combine Warrior

            He’s not 6’0″. Chip wanted him in the slot from day 1.

          • NickS, Combine Warrior

            They haven’t. Measurables. They win. Especially in the secondary.

          • NickS, Combine Warrior

            You forgot one though: that they never wanted to find out if Boykin was better because he wasn’t 6’0″. This isn’t about what they might be weakening or the slightest of possibilities that he may do worse than those scrubs. It’s strictly about measurables. Measurables come first and foremost. And they weren’t saddled with the worst pass D in the league. DVOA makes it clear that while not a good pass D, it was in fact, not the worst. Not sure how much more blatantly it can be put out there, though. Measurables come first. Talent comes second. Especially when it comes to the secondary. You actually think Billy Davis has a say in that decision?

            EDIT: Also, you don’t have to weaken the slot, you slide him over when needed because he’s, wait for it, versatile!

          • peteike

            putting him on the outside would be because they think he can play outside not to satiate any fan base BS. Were all just guessing on whether he could play well there or not. I think the need for a nickel corner is very important now in the new passing league, so maybe the pay scale adjusts that way slightly.

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            ::yellow flag::
            15 yards for unnecessary abuse of “exponentially”. Automatic first down.

          • damrvrhunter

            Allow me some hyperbole at least twice a day. Sometimes you have streeeeetch to make a point.

      • paul from nc

        You’re right. He doesn’t fit the scheme and measurables are bad.
        He only makes plays. No sense in keeping him around.

    • Ark87

      http://www.nfl.com/top100/2014#video=0ap2000000352720
      It’s a disadvantage, but no advantage or disadvantage is absolute. It may be worth giving Boykin a shot to see if he can overcome said disadvantage to become a top CB in the league as Jennings is.

  • Amar, CB who bought in

    Excellent article, Sheil. Great job.

  • eaglesfan, 20-win failure

    IMPOSSIBLE not to love this kid.

  • ION Eagles

    “…he could throw the remote controller at the TV, shut the game off, shut
    the TV off, cry, all that good stuff. And I took a lot of joy in that.”

    “…little buff raisin, little marble head.”

    Two LOL moments on page 1. Great article – I like BB even more now!

  • Ty

    he also played both ways in college I believe.

    • paul from nc

      No, I think that was Sam.

      • Ty

        your probably right, but he could have.

  • SoCalEaglesFan

    Oh, Brandon, Brandon… don’t talk about hometown discounts and that sort of thing. The organization can, and likely will, use that against you at the bargaining table.

    Boykin is in a rare position of negotiating strength considering his where he plays. He doesn’t have to accept the lowball special that all teams will try with their 4th year players. He can force them to pay him like a starting NFL cornerback or make them franchise tag him. And they won’t want to do that.