Yesterday we published an article claiming how the Eagles need to be very cautious when approaching free agency and restructuring contracts. Today however we look at how they can minimise the salary cap damage by cutting five players. Below we list the five players that we would release, the change to the salary cap and how it would benefit the birds.
5) Riley Cooper
Cap Saving- $2.9m
Cooper has been largely disappointing over the course of the past few seasons and many were of the assumption that Chip Kelly was the only reason he remained on the team and was given such a generous extension. Not only has Chip Kelly now left Philadelphia but Cooper is coming off of a much weaker 2015 campaign. He caught just 21 passes compared to his 55 a year ago and ended the season with just 327 yards and two touchdowns.
Cooper is declining and without Chip Kelly around, it’s clear that the Eagles need to strengthen their receiving core. Jordan Matthews suffered terrible games at the start of the year yet worked tirelessly to turn his seasons around and end on better numbers than last season. Cooper didn’t and with talents such as Laquon Treadwell declaring for the draft without even mentioning the potential in free agency, it makes the decision to cut him that much easier.
4) Mark Sanchez
Cap saving- $3.5m
For some reason, fans were praying for the return of Sanchez all season…until it happened. Sanchez showed us exactly why he’s regarded as the best backup in the league yet again..by being great..at being average. Four touchdowns and four interceptions saw the Sanchize end on a 0-2 record when he filled in for Bradford this season and it’s hard to see a new Head Coach wanting to keep him in the team when there’s a starting Quarterback who will likely be demanding a big contract.
Sanchez will not only save the Eagles $3.5m but also open the door to sign a young talent in the draft or even bring one in from Free Agency for Sam Bradford to mentor. If the worst case scenario occurred and Bradford fell injured next season, some new blood will be much more appealing than another predictable Mark Sanchez stint. The lights have slowly dimmed on the career of Mark Sanchez and it may be time to seek out another home in Free Agency.
3) DeMeco Ryans
Cap saving- $3.5m
The 31 year old is regarded as the leader of the Eagles Defense, but he’s certainly not getting any younger and his performances are beginning to decline. In the last 22 games (or two seasons for Ryans) he has less tackles combined than he did in the single seasons of 2012 and 2013. Whilst his interception, forced fumble and big pass deflections still mean he would be hard to replace..he has looked much slower in pursuit this year and there’s no guarantee that Ryans will stay healthy next season or beyond. Whilst his presence in the locker room can not be underestimated, at 31 years old it may be time to provide a veteran presence on a younger team. But don’t rule out a renegotiation here..Ryans is loved by players, staff and fans and taking a salary hit to help the team might well be in his nature.
Jordan Hicks proved this season that the transition of passing the torch hs already begun and if the Eagles were to really clamp down to save Cap money, it’s hard to keep Ryans when thinking about the long term plan as a new Head Coach.
2) Brent Celek
Cap Saving- $5m
Probably the hardest player to include in this list, blocking TE Brent Celek has been crucial to the Eagles Offense in recent years…but not so much this season. Celek endured his worst year since 2008 in terms of receptions, notching up just 27. Celek will be heading into his tenth season in the NFL and with the sudden emergence of Zach Ertz, the contrast between the two is hurting Celek.
His skill set is vastly different but if the new Head Coach improves the Line sufficiently, Celek’s saving grace may not be needed anymore..and for a saving of $5m, there’s a young Trey Burton waiting in the wings or the potential for free agency.
1 Jason Peters
Cap Saving- $6.2m
Jason Peters made the Pro-Bowl again this year but mostly down to reputation. Injury plagued his season and he was constantly surrounded in controversy. Whether that be pulling himself from the game or refusing to play as a backup, Peters hasn’t exactly been a daydream this year and neither has his Offensive Line.
With Lane Johnson the evident heir to the throne, it may be time to re-invent the line completely. Peters is 33 now and the longevity of his career has been weakened with lingering injuries. It’s unknown if Peters could complete another full season and for a saving of $6.2m, it’s hard to find reasons to keep him when Chip was already rumoured to address the O-Line in the draft.