The salary cap is more of an issue now after the Eagles have added draft picks and free agent signings
The draft was a success for the Philadelphia Eagles. Just how successful remains to be seen, but they addressed their obvious needs. Derek Barnett, defensive end, Sidney Jones (depending on how his rehab goes) and Rasul Douglas, cornerbacks, are expected to contribute in 2017. A couple of interesting rookie free agents, Corey Clement, running back, and Tyler Orlosky, offensive lineman, could impact the roster as well, but the Eagles had salary cap issues before the draft. Adding more players has made their situation worse, and now the Eagles must make some moves.
How do the new additions affect the salary cap situation
The Eagles, at this point, have close to a full 90-man roster heading into the off-season. With all their new players, according to Spotrac’s website, the Eagles are now $14.7 million over the cap. Most of this will work itself out when the team cuts down to 53 players; however, all NFL teams must be under the cap using the top 51 player contracts and draft pick signing pool. Using this number, the Eagles are still $4.5 million over the cap. A lot of the problem relates to contracts for Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel that are hanging over their heads. Together, they represent a combined $11.6 million figure on the Eagles’ books this year.
So who might the Eagles release
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Releasing Ryan Mathews would add a net of $4 million to the cap. Releasing Jason Kelce and Allen Barbre would add $3.4 and $2.1 million to the cap, respectively. Other potential targets could include Marcus Smith, who would save $1.5 million, or Dorial Green-Beckham. He would save the team $944,000.
New free agents and draft picks have put these players’ roster spots in jeopardy, but they are also targets due to the amount of cap relief they could provide. Two contracts (or more) will need to be terminated soon to get Philly under the cap.
What about releasing Mychal Kendricks?
There has been much speculation about Mychal Kendricks future in Philadelphia. It was surprising he wasn’t traded during the draft. The likely reason he wasn’t traded is his contract. $4.3 miliion of his $4.8 million salary for 2017 is guaranteed. Releasing him before June 1 would actually increase this year’s cap by $2.5 million, so that won’t happen. The Eagles will only save $500,000 for 2017 if Kendricks is cut after June 1, but he would still cost $3.2 million in 2018.
The Eagles cannot get any cap relief in 2017 unless they trade Kendricks and his contract. This isn’t a secret, so other teams, if interested in Kendricks, have the leverage in any trade talks. The best solution for both the team and the player would be for Jim Schwartz to figure out how to utilize Kendricks and get him to play like the athlete that earned that $29 million contract.
Are there other Kendricks-like contract problems?
The Eagles have two more Kendricks-like contract problems. Nelson Agholor has underwhelmed based on him being selected in the first round. His 2017 salary is guaranteed, so whether he’s in Philly or not, he represents $2.6 million against the cap this year and $2.1 million next year. It’s even worse for Vinny Curry. Curry will count as a $9 million figure against the cap in 2017 whether he’s in Philly or not. If he’s released, he’ll cost another $6 million against the cap next season. Like Kendricks, the team and players are best served if the coaches can figure out how to get the most from Agholor and Curry. All three have the talent. The question is, do they have the desire?
Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has to figure out who to release (or trade). Doug Pederson has to figure out how to get the most from three players they might be stuck with.