It seems as though the penny has dropped in Philadelphia. Within just a few short days, the Eagles have frantically decided to start restructuring as many expensive deals as possible. According to Derrick Gunn, Lane Johnson is next.
This one was always a no-brainer. Coming off of a season-ending ankle injury, the franchise right tackle was set to cost the Eagles $17.8M in 2021. A restructure makes logical sense, but he’s only recently signed a new contract.
Johnson played in 407 snaps last year, but only played a full game twice all season. He allowed just one sack in that time and played consistently, but did so while battling a lingering ankle injury that required offseason surgery.
As things stand, there is a bucket full of bonuses and options worked into the contract that aims to nullify paying an elite right tackle up-front. Johnson is technically on the books for a $21M cap hit in 2028. He would be 38-years-old. It’s all well and good adding more of these ‘dummy years’ to the contract, but Johnson will want that money eventually as he no doubt would have earned it.
While we don’t know the exact figures here, we can assume that the Eagles will shave around $9M off of their salary cap debt by converting his base salary to a roster bonus as they had done previously. When factoring in the reported Darius Slay restructure and Brandon Graham extension, the Eagles would be nearing salary cap safety already.
Brandon Brooks and Derek Barnett would be the next logical targets if Howie Roseman is insistent on swimming his way to salvation by retaining as many players as possible. Barnett’s $10M cap hit could easily be spread over a healthy contract extension, while Brooks is coming off of back-to-back season-ending injuries, giving the Eagles GM leverage.
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