Now that the Super Bowl is over and the waiver system has opened, there should be some significant action on the Philadelphia Eagles front in the near future.
The unofficial start of free agency is just one month away, and the Eagles need to clear some room. They currently have the fourth-highest cap commitments in 2017 (approximately $169 million) and about $7 million in cap space. While executive vice president of player personnel Howie Roseman and company are not expected to go too crazy this spring, the front office is dedicated to surrounding Carson Wentz with better talent and appears willing to throw down some sizable cash if it identifies a potential core player that can grow alongside the young quarterback over the next handful of years.
With one eye undeniably on the future and the financial flexibility a bit limited at the moment, the Eagles are expected to cut or restructure some veterans as they reallocate resources. Running back Ryan Mathews ($4 million savings) and cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin ($3.2 million) and Ron Brooks ($1.6 million) could be among those affected.
To help navigate some of the more interesting/difficult decisions facing this team, we called on former agent and salary-cap expert Joel Corry for his take:
(Numbers courtesy of OverTheCap)
Cap number if on roster: $8.35 million
Cap savings: $7.75 million
"Connor Barwin needs to play in a 3-4. I don’t know if you can get anything for him in a trade; that’s a fire sale move. I know he said he wants to take a pay cut to stay but he’s more effective in a 3-4. That’s $7.75 [million] right there.”
Cap number: $6.2 million
Cap savings: $3.8 million
“I might try to get him to take a pay cut as opposed to getting rid of him because the offensive line has some question marks as it is; you won’t have to go out and find a replacement as well.”
Cap number: $6.6 million
Cap savings: $1.8 million
“That’s one that you’ve got to do quickly because the third day of the league year, $4.35 million of his base salary is fully guaranteed.
“Knowing they need a receiver that can stretch the field, I would try to pry Torrey Smith away and ship him to San Francisco, if possible, because Torrey Smith ($8 million average per year) will probably be cheaper than any speed receiver you’re going to try and get.”
LT Jason Peters
Cap number: $11.7 million
Cap savings: $9.7 million
“I know you’re paying Lane Johnson a ton of money to be the right tackle for now, and at some point he is going to make the transition to left tackle. I don’t think now is the time to do it after seeing what was replacing Lane Johnson the 10 games he was out,” Corry said.
“You can ask [Peters] nicely to consider taking a pay cut. If he doesn’t, what are you going to do? You’re not going to release him and create another hole. You’d save $9.7 million on the cap but would the ends justify the means with him? You really need him at this point.”
Pending free agent DT Bennie Logan
“It’s hard to devote that much money to the interior defensive line because basically Fletcher Cox ($17 million annually) is getting your quarterback money. And then all of these run-stuffers are going to be not looking at Damon Harrison ($9 million annually), but Michael Brockers, which is $11 million a year.”
There are other moves the Eagles could make to free up additional cap room, including releasing receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (just under $1 million in relief) and former first-round pick Marcus Smith (about $1.5 million in savings). Excluding Peters, there is a total of close to $25 million in cap room tied to the players mentioned.
While the exact approach is to be determined, it's fair to say that the Eagles will take measures to free themselves up soon.