And, just like that, it's almost time to open the book on another offseason. Where did the time go? It seems like it was just yesterday when we began the season hoping that another Super Bowl run was imminent. Oh well... The Philadelphia Eagles' Wild Card Round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took care of that. Let's not relive what was a rough start to 2024's calendar year though.
We've gone on and on about the collapse and what may change. We shifted the focus and sat through closing statements. Frankly, we're sick of talking about it, so let's focus on something else, unsolicited advice for making the Eagles a better football team.
There are two roads that lead to making this happen, the NFL Draft and free agency. The latter will be here before you know it, and our football-obsessed minds won't let us ignore our theories on what's coming.
The Eagles could work their way into some additional funds if they part ways with some guys after June 1st.
According to Over The Cap, the Eagles are currently $20,284,984 under the salary cap. That will help if they want to add some free agents to help bolster the roster, but they could also free up more money which would also assist in roster building.
Now, there are two ways that we can handle this. Let’s begin with any releases that occur at the beginning of each new league year in March. Those releases are possible, but they're also very expensive.
If the Birds were to cut a player at any point before June 1st, his future guarantees (all of them) and his remaining prorated signing bonus would immediately be added to Philly's salary cap. The Birds would be on the hook for all of those charges at once, even though players are no longer on the roster.
That is referred to as “dead money." We don't want that, but it happens. It's the cost of doing business sometimes.
With that being said, let's explore the other option. Any player released or traded after June 1st will have his dead money spread over two seasons instead of only one. That makes a lot more sense. That's our basis for naming the guys on the list that follows.
James Bradberry is too expensive to move on from, even if we think he's regressed. Philly has a potential out in his deal after the coming season. He represents $17,238,000 in dead cap money for 2024 and another $12,503,000 in 2025, so maybe the Eagles are stuck with him for a while.
Here are five other guys that will help them shave another $17.8 million off of the cap. It may be time to do some wheeling and dealing.
1. Trade Kevin Byard... to anybody...
2024 cap hit: $14,417,088, Dead Cap: $346,500, Savings: $14,070,588
$14 million? Yeah, we're here for the smoke.
By shedding Kevin Byard, the Birds could truly make a move at an elite pass rusher (or maybe even an EDGE guy and a linebacker. Those are two areas where this team needs help.
2. Move on from Josh Jobe and do so expeditiously.
2024 cap hit: $988,334, Dead Cap: $3,334, Savings: $985,000
Raise your hand if you forget Josh Jobe is on the team sometimes. Yes, we know. He's a valuable contributor on special teams, but with the $985k Philly can free up by moving on, we're willing to bet they can go out and find a gunner.
3. Find a replacement for Ben VanSumeren.
2024 cap hit: $915,000 Dead Cap: $0, Savings: $915,000
Also a member of the 'I forgot this guy played for Philly club', Ben VanSumeren is someone who appears to be headed in the right direction, but for a team in 'win-now' mode, the resources his exit provides could be allocated toward finding someone else.
4. Find another offensive lineman besides Le'Raven Clark.
2024 cap hit: $1,035,000, Dead Cap: $175,000, Savings: $860,000
Jeff Stoutland really likes Le'Raven Clark, and that should be enough to make us like him too. Guess what we like more though... How about that $860,000 the Birds would free up by moving on?
Heck, with the way Howie Roseman wheels and deals, he can get another running back for that type of coin. Plus the Eagles have some good young reserves along the O-line.
5. Release or trade Zech McPhearson.
2024 cap hit: $1,237,414, Dead Cap: $182,414, Savings: $1,055,000
Zech McPhearson was supposed to be Philly's backup slot cornerback. Those dreams ended with his torn Achilles, one suffered during the preseason. In his absence, they found some talent that they liked.
A release or trade here would have to come after he's removed from the injured reserve. It also reignites the 'Who's going to play slot corner WHEN Avonte Maddox gets hurt?' discussions (because you know Avonte will go down at some point).
Either way you slice it, Zech hasn't shown us that he's worth $1 million. Frankly, we'd like to see that money spent somewhere else.
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