Loaded with veteran players making good money, the Eagles were projected to be around $9 million over the 2018 cap prior to this trade. In order to be cap compliant, the Eagles are going to have to shed some salary between now and the start of the league year next Wednesday.
Bennett is scheduled to make a base salary of $1.65 million this season and, per ESPN's Brady Henderson, is owed a $3 million roster bonus on March 18. Defensive end Vinny Curry could very well be the odd man out. He is scheduled to count $11 million against the cap, and the Eagles were working on restructuring his deal in an effort to keep him. With Bennett now in the fold, it makes more sense to try to move Curry to gain some cap relief.
Beyond the immediate need to cut cost, the Eagles are also trying to position themselves to be ready when Carson Wentz comes due for a big pay day. Wentz is eligible for a new contract after the 2018 season, and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman talked about the need to acquire draft picks in order to infuse some young players on rookie deals to balance the big-money veteran contracts.
The Eagles went a bit in the opposite direction with the Bennett deal, sending a fifth-round pick and young receiver Marcus Johnson to Seattle for Bennett and a seventh-rounder. Chances are, Roseman has other moves planned that will make up for that and then some. The Eagles have some options, whether it's moving back in the draft, dealing one of their defensive backs, looking into the markets for the likes of linebacker Mychal Kendricks or even moving on from Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
Cap complications aside, the Eagles obviously felt the move was worth it and will help best position them for a run at another title in 2018. Bennett, 32, had 8.5 sacks for the Seahawks last year along with eight tackles for loss. He can move inside in pass-rushing situations and will help create a dangerous interior tandem along with Fletcher Cox. Defensive line was already the top strength of the Super Bowl champion Eagles, and it just got stronger.
The Eagles are charged with trying to set themselves up for a repeat while looking out for their long-term interests. Put this one in the former category, and bet on future deals addressing the latter.