After excelling in his role as the nickel corner in each of his first three seasons, Boykin made it clear that he wanted a chance to show what he could do as an outside corner. Both head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Billy Davis always poo-pooed the very notion of Boykin playing on the outside, and always had him locked in to the slot role.
Boykin tried to be patient with the situation, but after watching the team haplessly stick with a mediocre talent in Bradley Fletcher, and then hand the starting job to a guy who had proven even less in this league in Nolan Carroll, it finally got to the point where Boykin couldn’t hold his frustration in any longer and made some public comments about the situation.
I completely understand Boykin’s position in the whole situation. He was one of this defense’s best playmakers over the last few years, and it was time for him to get a crack at becoming an even bigger part of the defense. He had been a good soldier about the situation for several years, never complaining until this spring. And once mini camps opened up and the team automatically put Carroll, a guy who the team apparently didn’t feel like was a better option than Fletcher late last year, into first-team lineup without giving Boykin a sniff.
Boykin must have been incredibly insulted by that development, and he would have every right to be.
Boykin’s comments surely didn’t sit well with His Majesty, who has made it a personal mission to rid the locker room of any and all voices that even slightly disagree with or challenge his vision.
And now, Boykin finds himself as the latest ex-Eagle, and the latest victim of Chip Kelly’s ego.
Once again, Kelly’s nature has cost the team another talented player. Heaven help us, Boykin wasn’t 100% with the program, so he had to go asap because #culture.
Kelly’s ego-driven transactions have been particularly ridiculous this off-season now that he’s been given complete control. That’s twice now in the last couple months that Kelly has unnecessarily rid his team of a solid player that could have played a very important role in the coming year. First it was Evan Mathis, leaving the team without a single proven guard on the offensive line, and now it’s Boykin, leaving a defensive secondary that already had more than it’s share of question marks with one more big question and even less depth.
Who replaces Boykin in the slot? I don’t think Eric Rowe is quick enough to be a fit for the inside. Sixth-rounder Ja’Corey Sheppard has a skillset similar to that of Boykin, but he was a late-round pick for a reason and we don’t even know if he’s good enough to make the roster let alone win the nickel role. This team now has another unnecessary hole caused by a self-inflicted wound.
Trading Boykin for a fifth-round pick does nothing to make this club better. At least the first-year GM was able to obtain some kind of compensation for the guy he put on the chopping block this time, but there’s no justification for this trade.
Boykin might not have been happy about his role, but he was far from a distraction. And by the way, would it really have been that unreasonable to just give the poor a guy a rep or two on the outside, just to see what he’s got?
Pittsburgh got themselves a heck of a player for a very minimal cost. And the Eagles are now a worse team than they were yesterday.
Nice work, Chip.