The offseason is approaching at an alarming rate and the Eagles have plenty of work to do. With limited cap room and an abundance of holes to fill, this could be Roseman’s toughest challenge yet. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are four players who carry some excruciating cap hits heading into 2019 that could face a sharp twist of fate as a result.
Timmy Jernigan (Cap hit: $13,000,000)
Set to account for over 6% of the Eagles cap hit next year is former Ravens DT, Timmy Jernigan. After an explosive ‘prove-it’ campaign in 2017 led to an equally stunning contract, Jernigan suffered a mysterious back injury that forced him to miss 11 full weeks of the regular season. Jernigan then played just 19 snaps in week 12 before missing three further games due to back spasms. Letting their highly paid DT get healthy was the right move and his presence in the playoffs was pivotal, but his future is now murky.
Roseman was quick to restructure his deal following the mysterious setback, but 2019 remains a tough nut to crack. The Eagles sorely missed Jernigan this year, with Fletcher Cox somehow still posting a career-high in sacks without his running mate. But with there now being some concerns over his longevity, at the very least, we have to expect a reworked deal.
Jernigan has become a key cog in the Eagles defense and a well-loved member of the team inside the locker room. Roseman and company would be hesitant to cut him loose, but if they can’t get that shocking cap number down, a very deep DT draft class lies ahead…one that Roseman himself described as ‘historic’.
Rodney McLeod (Cap hit: $9,906,250)
The Eagles were aching badly at Safety all season long and the absence of McLeod really hurt the secondary. The former Ram played just three weeks before picking up a heartbreaking season-ending injury. The Safety now finds himself in a similar spot to Timmy Jernigan. McLeod has been indispensable as a reliable tackler in a secondary that has both craved and lacked exactly that since his arrival, but $9M is extortionate considering that $7M of that is his base salary.
Now, we could well see Howie Roseman work his magic and structure an extension for McLeod, but regardless of what happens here, the Eagles need Safety help and the rise of players like Avonte Maddox may, just may tilt the balance enough to cause a shock or two. This is probably the most unlikely name on this list to be cut, but the contract situation is worth watching.
Jason Peters (Cap hit: $10,666,668)
Goodbyes are rarely ever easy and this one would be heartbreaking, but unfortunately, every book has an ending. Jason Peters has been one of the most remarkable talents in Philadelphia Eagles history and the fact he was unable to go out and play in a Super Bowl is gutwrenching. But, that $10M price tag isn’t going anywhere and neither is the fact that with each season that passes, Peters is being rotated out more, picking up knocks on a more frequent basis and rare lapses of concentration are becoming more regular. When he’s on his game, he’s still an elite talent, but for $10M, the Eagles may finally have to bite the bullet and wave goodbye to a future Hall of Famer.
Nelson Agholor ( Cap hit: $9,387,000)
The slot receiver situation is an intriguing one, to say the least, but the former first-round pick may have the least leverage here. The Golden Tate trade eventually worked out and the Eagles may well be able to bring him back on a cheaper deal, while Jordan Matthews would bring the most ‘bang for your buck’ of the trio. Agholor’s $9.3M cap hit is just a little too high for a #3 receiver, especially considering Alshon Jeffery is making $14M and the Eagles still don’t have a designated #2 target.
Could the Eagles sign Agholor to an extension? It’s plausible and you can’t argue that he’s earned that long-term security. The problem is that Agholor has probably earned more than the Eagles can give him. At just 25-years old, Agholor’s ceiling is still ridiculously high and the Super Bowl champion could very easily drum up a market as one of the premier free agent wide receivers if the Eagles decided to let him walk. This could be a mutually beneficial decision as the Eagles rebuild their receiving corps around Alshon Jeffery, albeit a hard one to stomach.
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