Eagles decision on DeVonta Smith's expected extension just became substantially easier

With the recent news of the enhanced salary cap number for all 32 NFL teams, the Philadelphia Eagles face an easy decision related to DeVonta Smith.

DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

It isn't our money, but we always seem to take a keen interest in how it's spent. Every regular season and offseason, we dedicate a tremendous amount of time to discussing the Philadelphia Eagles' salary cap. How far below the allowable threshold are they? Or, how far are they above it? We've never been asked our opinions on how they conduct business, yet we are always willing and able to offer some unsolicited advice... Don't act like we're the only ones who do so.

Year after year, we try our hand at telling the Birds who they should sign and who they shouldn't, who they should pay and who they shouldn't, and most importantly, who they need to move on from.

Time moves fast, and we're moving quickly towards a juncture where the Birds need to make decisions about whether or not they're going to offer extensions to the members of their 2021 draft class.

Landon Dickerson is, all of a sudden, in a contract season. So is Milton Williams, Zech McPhearson, Kenneth Gainwell, Marlon Tuipulotu, and DeVonta Smith. The Birds will no doubt look to extend their 'Skinny Batman', but the decision about what they should do with him has, all of a sudden, gotten easier.

The NFL's recent salary cap increase and DeVonta Smith's baked-in fifth-year option make an easy decision even easier for the Eagles.

News travels fast around NFL fan bases, especially the midnight and kelly green-tinged contingent belonging to the Philadelphia Eagles. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport was among the first to report league offices announced the 2024 NFL salary cap will be set at $255.4M per club. That includes an additional $74M per club payment for player benefits.

Performance-based pay is included in that. So are benefits for retired players. Total 2024 player costs will be $329.4M per club. That's a total of more than $10.5 billion league-wide.
Here's more from Rapoport:
"The unprecedented $30M increase per club in this year’s salary cap is the result of the full repayment of all amounts advanced by the clubs and deferred by the players during the COVID pandemic as well as an extraordinary increase in media revenue for the 2024 season."

How does that translate to the Eagles you ask? Well. it's simple. Philly is expected to have roughly $32,284,984 in cap space. They are expected to make decisions on 20 pending free agents, and
according to Over the Cap’s potential transaction chart, they can create $35.4 million in cap space.

The dawn of the new league year is less than three weeks away. Over The Cap also recently projected the fifth-year-option salaries for players who qualify. DeVonta was a former first-round selection, so he does.

He would cost the Eagles $15,591,000. That's a bargain seeing as how he'd be the 20th highest-paid NFL wide receiver. Exercising his option would also allow Philly some leeway to extend some of their other fourth-year players and buy some time to work out DeVonta's extension.

May 2nd is the deadline for NFL teams to exercise the fifth-year option for players selected in the first round of the 2021 draft. Eagles vice president/general manager Howie Roseman and his staff should still be aggressive in hammering out an extension for their young wideout. It's always better to extend key players early than late.

Tarrying too long will only increase Smith's price tag. He has yet to make a Pro Bowl after being snubbed three times, but he's, without question, one of the best young stars in the game at his position.

Read more free agency news from Inside The Iggles