Eagles Offseason: Let’s Get it Under the Salary Cap

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We started the Eagles’ offseason series yesterday with a look at the pending free agent situation.

The Birds are more than $8 million over the salary cap heading into the spring, so they’ll have to make some difficult decisions to reach compliance while tweaking a roster that was good enough to win it all in February.

Howie Roseman is on the record saying that this team will get its “ass kicked” if he simply tries to roll out the same three units you saw this season, which is nearly impossible given the financial situation anyway. They’re going to have to get creative to balance the budget next season, something Congress has been unable to do since.. I think 1998.

Nick Foles

Everybody has a spicy opinion on Nick’s future, but first let’s take a step back and examine recent history.

Could it be….

….that the Eagles won the Super Bowl….

….because they had a legitimate backup quarterback?

A lot of folks seem to be in a hurry to ship off Foles for draft picks, but I’m not. If he’s happy with the situation, why not bring him back in the exact same capacity as 2017?

After all, THAT’S HOW YOU WON THE FIRST SUPER BOWL IN FRANCHISE HISTORY.

Quarterback is the most important position in all of sports, and the Eagles have two excellent QBs on their roster. A lot of teams can’t even find one decent signal caller, yet some Birds fans are ready to cash in on Foles and head into camp with Nate Sudfeld and a post-ACL Carson Wentz.

For what it’s worth, the organization seems to be high on Sudfeld. We didn’t see much of him this season, but the Colts tried to sign him off the Birds’ practice squad and Roseman adjusted accordingly. In my opinion, if we’re looking at Wentz, Foles, and Sudfeld, the only sure bet is Foles, since Wentz is coming back from a killer injury and Sudfeld is still a total unknown in my book.

Now, if Foles wants to go, you take the best deal out there and clear $5.2 million in salary. I see the Foles thing as a win/win situation, right? You’re either returning the quarterback that won you your first Super Bowl or cashing in on a backup QB while keeping your franchise guy around.

It’s nearly impossible to screw this up.

Jason Peters

Everything I’ve heard Howie say about Peters makes it seem like he’s coming back.

He’s 36-years-old, returning from a knee injury, and saves you around $4 million in cap space if you cut him. You take on about $6 million in dead cap if you cut ties, something that the Eagles have been very smart in avoiding since Chip Kelly left town:

The Birds are way down near the bottom of that list, out from under the ~$6.5m they ate on the Sam Bradford and Eric Rowe moves.

Anyway, with the way Big V improved this season, I think you feel pretty good about left tackle moving forward, whether or not Peters returns. Jason is, of course, is well-liked in the locker room and a leader on and off the field. But you have to make these decisions with your head and not your heart, to roll out the lame old cliche. This seems like the toughest one of those in that regard.

Torrey Smith

After an unimpressive start to the season, he contributed 13 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs

He’s due $5 million this season, which I don’t think matches his overall contribution. If you can get him to take a pay cut, he’s a nice WR3 behind Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Otherwise, if the franchise believes in Mack Hollins, Marcus Johnson, or even Shelton Gibson as a guy who can open up the field, you go that route instead.

With a Pro Bowl tight end on the roster and a running back like Corey Clement due for an expanded role next season, I’m okay with moving on from Smith. The Eagles successfully spread the ball out to different targets this year and found ways to get all of their skill players involved, so I think you can safely cut ties here.

Brent Celek

I thought he might retire a Super Bowl champion, but that hasn’t happened, at least not yet.

Celek would count for $5 million against the cap this season and the Eagles can save $4 million by releasing him. Zach Ertz is back in the fold and Trey Burton will be headed elsewhere in free agency, so they would then have to go find a TE2 if they part ways with Celek, who just finished his 11th NFL season, all with the Eagles.

Here’s what his career numbers look like:

How much is left in the tank? I don’t know. He’s taken such a beating over the years that I realistically have no clue what he could provide at age 32, 33, or 34.

Mychal Kendricks

If Nigel Bradham re-signs in the 5-6 million dollar range, and Jordan Hicks comes back healthy, then you’re paying your third linebacker $7.6 million.

Kendricks had an excellent season after starting out on the trade block, finishing behind only Bradham for total tackles and adding a pair of sacks with three tackles for loss.

I think he goes back on the block after the Eagles agree to a new deal with Bradham, but if Nigel walks, you can do much, much worse than Kendricks and Hicks as your top two linebackers.

Vinny Curry

He’s due $11 million next season, 11 million in 2019, and 12 million in 2020.

With Derek Barnett waiting in the wings, and Brandon Graham deserving more money on the other side of the line, it’s hard to justify keeping Curry around at his current price tag. Either the team asks him to take a pay cut or releases him, saving $5 million in the process but running into $6 million in dead money, same with the Peters situation.

They can kick that can down the road with a post-June 1st cut if they decide to follow that path. It’s a complicated explanation, but in layman’s terms they can basically divide up that 6 million into smaller chunks against the cap.

Brandon Graham

See above.

He signed a 4 year, $26 million deal in 2015 and now makes less annually than Curry, Tim Jernigan, and Fletcher Cox.

You can work the Curry deal above, bring Graham into the 8-11 range, and lock him up for the remainder of his prime. I don’t think he’s too old, not yet at least. He’s 29 and playing the best football of his career. This isn’t five years, $125 million to a 30-year-old Ryan Howard.

Anyway, those are the most significant monetary areas, outside of free agency, for the Birds to take a look at this season.

If you want to take a look at the current cap situation, Spotrac.com is the place to go.

Here’s the top-end of the Eagles’ salary list, filtered by total money:

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4 Responses

  1. The idea that we’ll trade a super bowl MVP winning quarterback for a second round draft pick is sheer insanity. Look at what the Redskins gave up to draft RG3. There’s never been a QB that won the superbowl and hit the trade market the next season and the idea that a second round pick will get it done is hilariously retarded. Howie dont play that.

  2. With the millions Brandon earns from WIP and CSN he should be content with his football salary says:

    Between his radio and TV income Brandon is set for life. I heard they are paying E$kin $500,000 a year just to host that Monday radio show with BG so you can imagine what Brandon earns.

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