As he was being carted off, Jason Peters had a message for Vaitai

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As he was being carted off, Jason Peters had a message for Vaitai

As Jason Peters loaded himself and his bum right leg onto the cart early in the second half on Monday night, and as Eagles fans at the Linc began to chant his name, the injured future Hall of Famer had one thing on his mind. 

Peters wanted to give Big V some advice. 

"He told me, 'Just keep your composure and calm down,'" said second-year tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who took Peters' spot at left tackle after his knee injury. "Take two good kicks, don't over set, you'll be fine."

Vaitai said the advice helped. It calmed him down. 

"He believed in me so it gave me a confidence boost a little bit," Vaitai said. 

When the Eagles host the 49ers next week, Vaitai will be in the starting lineup. Peters tore his ACL and MCL and is out for the season. 

Even if Peters is somehow able to return later this season, it'll be up to Vaitai and Lane Johnson to hold down the tackle position in the meantime. 

Head coach Doug Pederson was noncommittal on a plan without Peters. It's possible Vaitai could stay at left tackle, but it seems likely Johnson would slide to left tackle to protect Carson Wentz's blind side. Either way, Vaitai will need to play well. 

"Don't know yet," Pederson said. "It's something we'll evaluate this week. As you guys know back in the spring, we talked about possibly having a plan that way, but we'll evaluate it this week and make a decision at least by Wednesday before we practice again."

Monday night was the second time this season Vaitai had to finish a game against Washington for Peters. The future Hall of Famer exited Week 1's contest early as well. 

Next week will likely be Vaitai's eighth career start. Just last week, Johnson was praising Vaitai and mentioned he didn't start to hit his stride until his ninth start during his rookie season. 

"We have confidence in him, man," right guard Brandon Brooks said. "He stepped in for Lane last year and got better. Honestly, it's probably a bigger deal for you guys than it is for us. He's rotated in at tackle. He's the next guy up." 

After Peters went down, the Eagles continued their drive and were able to march down the field with Vaitai at right tackle and score a touchdown. Johnson said it was "vital" to get a score there. 

"I mean, when a guy like Jason Peters goes down, I mean the crowd was chanting his name," Wentz said. "He is a legend around here. He is a future Hall of Famer. We love that guy. He means a lot to us.

"As we were going out, he was starting to tell Coach Stout (Jeff Stoutland), to tell Big V a certain thing against a certain guy. He didn't even care, he was just trying to coach and just help us out to find a way to win. And that's just the type of guy he is. So that will be a big loss for us. It was a big loss for us tonight but Big V stepped up." 

Trey Burton denies report questioning his Eagles future

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Trey Burton denies report questioning his Eagles future

Several hours after an NJ.com report surfaced that the Eagles were unlikely to re-sign Trey Burton, the tight end denied it on Twitter.

Replying to a tweet about the report from former Eagles teammate Emmanuel Acho, Burton said he hasn't spoken to anyone.

NJ.com's Matt Lombardo reported Friday that the Eagles made Burton an offer that the soon-to-be-free-agent "didn't consider serious."

"We are fully expecting Trey to sign elsewhere," the source said.

It wouldn't be surprising whatsoever if Burton leaves in free agency. A team will likely pay him starter's money and offer him a chance to start, which he doesn't have here with Zach Ertz firmly entrenched.

The Eagles are over the projected salary cap, and while they could create space in numerous ways, they also have to worry about re-signing key linebacker Nigel Bradham.

6 ways for Eagles to create cap space

6 ways for Eagles to create cap space

The Eagles are coming off a thrilling season but there's a lot of work to be done. 

The NFL's new league year begins on March 14 and the Eagles must be under the salary cap by then. The problem is that based on projections, the Eagles are set to be more than $9 million over the cap, according to OverTheCap. So it's time for some maneuvering. 

The good news is that Howie Roseman's specialty has always been finding unique ways to get the Eagles out of cap trouble. There are ways for him to do it again.

Cut Torrey Smith 
Probably the easiest one. Smith was a great teammate and a solid addition to the Eagles' locker room, and he really stepped up his game in the playoffs, but it's probably not enough to bring him back. He just wasn't good enough last season, and cutting him would save the Eagles $5 million in cap room with no dead money. The Birds still have Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, while Mack Hollins is entering Year 2. 

Cut Brent Celek
This one will hurt, but Celek can take away the sting if he decides to walk away as a champion. He's set to have a cap number of $5 million. That's just way too much for what Celek provides these days. By cutting him, the Eagles would save $4 million in cap space. So just between Smith and Celek, the Eagles will almost get back to zero ... but there's other work to do. They'll still need money to sign free agents and draft picks. 

Extend Brandon Graham 
Graham is entering the final year of his contract with a cap number of $8 million. He wants a new contract and deserves one. Good news: An extension would work for both sides. Graham would get more money long term and the Eagles could get his cap number down this season. 

Rework/cut Vinny Curry
Curry is coming off of probably his best season in the NFL but will have an $11 million cap number. That's tough to swallow, especially with Derek Barnett waiting for his chance to start. It seems likely the Eagles will ask Curry to take a pay cut or rework his deal. If not, cutting him would leave $6 million in dead money but would also save $5 million in cap room. 

Trade Mychal Kendricks
If you remember, Kendricks actually wanted a trade last offseason. Good thing that didn't happen. Kendricks ended up being a big part of the Eagles' success in 2017. Depending on what happens with Nigel Bradham in free agency and with Jordan Hicks' Achilles recovery, trading Kendricks might again be an option. A trade would save $4.4 million in cap space. 

Trade Nick Foles 
This is such a tough one β€” we explore it more here. But basically, Foles is a pretty amazing insurance policy until we know when Carson Wentz is going to be ready. If the Eagles do trade Foles, it would save them $5.2 million that they could certainly use. The problem is that by the time they know Wentz's status, free agency will be long gone and that cap space won't help this year. But it could help in 2019.