The Philadelphia Eagles dropped the biggest bombshell of the off season by releasing star wide receiver DeSean Jackson, after a career year in 2013. Though they had been shopping him around in the trade market for a couple weeks, there was still a lot of surprise that the reigning NFC East champions were willing to suddenly part ways with one of the biggest play makers in the league. His release does save the team a little over $6 Million against the salary cap for the upcoming season, but do not expect that to be only cost-cutting move before training camp begins a couple months from now. Being conscious of future free agents on the roster will have the team ready to evaluate the value of almost all players collecting a pay check from the Eagles organization. Reports have surfaced that the team has allowed Eagles All Pro left guard Evan Mathis to seek a trade, as they are unwilling to hand out a big money extension to the 32 year old. The Eagles should be comfortable with the amount of space they currently have when it comes to salaries, but looking towards the future, Birds quarterback Nick Foles is due a hefty pay raise in 2015. As we have seen across the league, even the slightly above average quarterback is being paid boat loads of cash. If Foles has a repeat performance of last year’s efficiency, he can expect the Eagles to pull the brinks truck up to his door step.
Keeping that in mind, there a several other players that may not be safe from Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly’s wrath. Some current players are overpaid for their performance (or lack there of) include: wide receiver Arrelious Benn, wide receiver Brad Smith and tight end James Casey. Though they Eagles are now thin on pass catchers after releases of Jackson and wide receiver Jason Avant the last couple weeks, the team can save $1 million by releasing Benn or Smith, while over $4 million by letting Casey walk. None of those players were vital in the offensive production last season and could be replaced with cheaper and younger options via the draft.
On the other hand, the team may be willing to trade away defensive end Brandon Graham because he does not fit the scheme. A move that would save over $3 million; possibly to invest in a more natural 3-4 outside linebacker. While back up running back Bryce Brown could be deemed expendable, after the acquisition of running back Darren Sproles from the New Orleans Saints. Brown may even return a higher value than the fifth round pick the Eagles surrendered in that trade for the diminutive do-it-all Sproles. This is a very deep draft coming up in next month, with highly talented players likely to fall into the middle rounds. It would be in the Eagles (and every team’s) best interest to load up on picks to find future starters throughout the three day event. And with the rookie pay scale now in affect in the NFL, they come much cheaper than most of the veteran options the Eagles have on their roster and available in the free agent market. In any way, expect more roster moves with current players on the roster as Chip Kelly tries to fill out the depth chart with players that fit his scheme and adhere to his way of doing things. Though it may take an emotional toll on the players and fan base, the Eagles have already proven they are willing to make the tough decision when it comes to doing the best for the team in the future.