We are three days away from the start of the new NFL league year and the opening of free agency. For the Eagles, this means much more than the Carson Wentz trade becoming official. With the salary cap now confirmed at $182.5M, the Eagles have around $10M of space (after the Brooks restructure) to find before things get a little messy. The good news is, the pressure has been lifted somewhat.
The obvious thing for Howie Roseman to do would be to examine the biggest cap hits on the roster and aim to negotiate restructures. We’ve seen this already with Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, and Darius Slay, while Brandon Graham is reportedly getting a new deal. The Eagles could approach Fletcher Cox (who counts for $23M of cap space this year) and ask him if he wouldn’t mind moving the money around, while Lane Johnson’s cap hit is reportedly up in the air as contract restructure negotiations continue to be reported. Cutting Marquise Goodwin would also free up around $4.3M of cap space, but this can’t be done until the new league year starts.
The Zach Ertz trade rumors have been circulating heavily over the past week and although a move is still likely, it wouldn’t help the Eagles right now. A move previously reported as ‘imminent’ has somewhat cooled off and time is running out if this is something that the team are leaning on to get them under the cap. The move can’t be confirmed until the new league year begins on Wednesday at 4 PM, meaning that the savings likely wouldn’t come into play right away.
The same would go for a potential Derek Barnett trade. If the Eagles want that $10M to come off of their bill right away, then it’s likely that the they hand him a new deal given that he’s now in an option year worth over $10M. This would make sense given his youth and potential upside coinciding with the fact he is yet to prove he’s worth anywhere close to that $10M valuation.
A Fletcher Cox restructure, a potential new deal for Barnett, and the cutting of Marquise Goodwin could well be enough to propel the Eagles under the cap. From there, it becomes a case of just how much do they want to spend in free agency? If they want to bring in a couple of mid-tier players, they may have to make some more tweaks…but these moves likely won’t happen before the start of the new league year. In terms of what to expect between now and March 17th, it should be nothing but restructures and new deals. As soon as the floodgates open, however, that’s when you’ll want to make sure you’ve read the safety guidelines and fastened your seatbelts because this is going to be one wild offseason rollercoaster.
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