Todd Herremans, James Casey weren't cap casualties

PHILADELPHIA -- It’s that time of the year when the Philadelphia Eagles are getting their salary cap in order by releasing a few veterans and have a chance to scoop up some bargains as other teams do the same.

First, a quick assessment. The Eagles’ decision to release veteran guard Todd Herremans was cap-related, in that the team can use the $2.8 million in salary-cap space on another player. But the move was not forced by the salary cap. The Eagles were not forced to cut Herremans or tight end James Casey because they were over the cap or pressed against it.

According to ESPN’s Roster Management System, the Eagles currently have $26.4 million in salary cap space. That’s the 12th largest chunk of cap space in the NFL.

So the Eagles are not under any pressure to make a move regarding running back LeSean McCoy, whose $11.95 million cap value is the biggest number on the team. They may decide to restructure McCoy’s contract, paying him some portion of that money in a bonus rather than in salary. That would allow them to spread the payment out over several years. But there is nothing forcing the Eagles to reduce McCoy’s cap hit.

Likewise, the Eagles may restructure the contract of outside linebacker Trent Cole, whose salary-cap charge is $11.6 million. They don’t have to do so, but allotting more money in bonus and less in salary would free up more space for the team to use in free agency.

As for Herremans and Casey, the calculations were different. The team decided that Herremans’ performance, including injuries that have cost him 16 games in the last three seasons, wasn’t commensurate with the $4 million salary and $5.2 million cap hit he represented.

If the Eagles are going to spend that much for a right guard, they could sign a free agent they believe would be better. Or they could go with Allen Barbre or Matt Tobin at a much lower cap hit and allocate Herremans’ cap space at another position.

Same with Casey. When the Eagles signed him two years ago, they hadn’t yet drafted Zach Ertz. When they did draft Ertz, Casey’s role changed. He became a very good special-teams player, but caught only six passes in two seasons. That changed his value in dollars, as well. The Eagles can get that production from Trey Burton at a fraction of the cost.

So don’t be surprised if the Eagles take a shot at signing a player released by another team while trimming their own roster. They aren’t being forced to make cuts by the salary cap, although the salary cap is in mind with everything they’re doing.