The NFL offseason here and if you’re an Eagles fan, you know what that means. It’s time for Howie Roseman to pull out his calculator and start restructuring deals left and right in a bid to ensure his team is not going to be drowning in salary-cap related dramas a year from now. Well, that’s what it usually means anyway.
How did 2021 pan our for the Eagles?
Roseman spent most of last offseason wading through uncharted waters. His team was physically handcuffed when it came to the salary cap thanks to years of restructuring deals in a bid to avoid those monster hits. Coincided with the trading of Carson Wentz, this left Philadelphia with very little wriggle room and their free-agent signings reflected that.
Eric Wilson, Anthony Harris, and Steven Nelson, headlined a bargain-bin level haul. However, this year may be a little different.
What will 2022 hold?
The Eagles have around $21M in cap space, according to Spotrac. This ranks them 14th in total cap space and while it’s encouraging to see the Eagles finally in a position to be a little more aggressive, they should still veer on the side of caution.
There has been a real push from Roseman and company to go all-in on youth. By amassing draft picks at an alarming rate, not only is Howie keeping his contracts nice and manageable, with four/five-year deals that cost very little, but is giving himself the flexibility to handle some of those much more intimidating cap hits.
Fletcher Cox, for instance, has a $14M cap-hit this year, while Brandon Graham will cost the team $9M. Lane Johnson, Darius Slay, and Javon Hargrave will all cost the Eagles more than $15M each. The first two players could be subject to restructures, although Fletch has already been dangled in trade talks prior to the start of the offseason, while the latter trio may also be politely asked to talk about their current deal.
The Eagles have enough ammunition to make a run at a top-tier free agent if they see fit, and their salary cap liability will lighten once again next year, with the team looking at an available spending budget of around $54M. This could incentivize Howie to go after free agents and offer them bigger deals with the money spread out over an elongated period. However, many free agents rightly go in search of guaranteed money, which is something Roseman is often keen to deny.
The NFL offseason should provide a huge opportunity for Roseman’s Eagles to continue to build in the vision of long-term growth. The days of handcuffing the franchise to aging players appear to be over, and it appears that youth and athleticism is the move. If they do go on the attack in free agency, expect younger names like Justin Reid or Marcus Williams to be primary targets, while Roseman manages the heavier contracts on the books and prepares his team for an influx of three potential first-round picks, paving the way for more next year in the process.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire