As things stand, the Eagles will go into the 2021 season over the cap by around $50M. Obviously this is contextual. We know that the cap increases each year etc, but with the impact of COVID-19 only increasing, there’s no guarantee that a substantial drop in revenues across the NFL will see that trend continue. What doesn’t help is that they rank dead last in estimated space (-$50M)…by $14M. The next closest team is New Orleans.
Believe it or not, the actually Eagles lead the NFL in players being paid $10M+ per season, with nine in total. That number jumps to 12 next year A trend to note here is that eleven of the twelve highest-paid players on the roster are age 30+.
Roseman has done a great job in securing cornerstones for the franchise. Lane Johnson was given a meaty extension that will likely mean he ends his career as an Eagle (costing $16M in 2021), while Brandon Graham’s deal soars to a cap figure of $17M in 2021. Brandon Brooks signed a long-term deal too, but since he’s still in the early days of the contract, he only ranks 8th in 2021 cap hits. But none of this is counting the handsome sum that will now be given to Carson Wentz, or a potential restructure/extension for franchise tight end Zach Ertz.
While talking about Ertz, it has to be noted that both he and running-mate Dallas Goedert are projected to be free agents in the 2022 offseason. Sooner or later, a plan has to be created to keep one of, if not both players, around, or cash in on the returns to reinvest at the position.
But then there are the wildcards. Malik Jackson for instance, a man who ended his first season in midnight green less than one game into the season, may only cost the Eagles $4.6M in 2020, but that number leaps to $13.6M in 2021. Ouch. If they cut him before June 1st next year, they save…$1M. Wonderful. A post June 1st designation nets them a $10M saving.
Let’s not forget DeSean Jackson, who is already costing the Eagles $8.6M this year. The Eagles have a potential out at the end of the season, which given the abundance of receivers acquired through the draft, is likely, but his cap hit jumps to $10M next year, making a departure all but guaranteed. On that note, what about Marquise Goodwin? Who, without even playing a snap, had restructured a deal that will see a cap hit of $5.85M next season.
There are certain measures the Eagles could take to somewhat lessen the blow here, but it’s not like any of the options make life any easier.
The Eagles took a risk by guaranteeing Alshon Jeffery’s 2020 salary and it blew back in their faces massively. On top of every other problem, the former Bears wideout is dealing with a Lisfranc injury that could sideline him for a good chunk of next season, limiting his value both after 2020 and as of right now.
If the Eagles were to release Jeffery with a post June 1st designation, they’d save $13M in cap space, which could be absolutely crucial.
Time is running out
Derek Barnett’s fifth-year option was exercised which means he will now cost the Eagles $10.5M next year, which is…less than ideal no matter how you look it, barring a fourth-year breakout. The Eagles may well try to move on from Barnett next offseason and hit the reset button at the position before the cost jumps too high.
No matter how you view it, the Eagles are in salary cap jeopardy the second the 2020 season ends. Some may turn back to the 2020 draft class with several questions. Why Jalen Hurts in the second round when there is so much financial damage at other positions and undoubted cap casualties on the horizon.
Only Howie Roseman knows…but if you thought this offseason was a rollercoaster, buckle your seatbelt and scrunch your eyes as tight as you can because it isn’t going to get any easier.
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