Lane Johnson helps Eagles create cap space

Lane Johnson helps Eagles create cap space

Have no fear, Howie Roseman is here.

As many fans were worrying about the Eagles getting under the salary cap when the new league year starts on Wednesday afternoon, the Eagles have restructured Lane Johnson’s deal to save a ton of space, league sources confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia.

As ESPN’s Field Yates first reported, the Eagles created $7.5 million in cap space by slightly re-working Johnson’s deal. The Eagles still have some work to do, but according to OverTheCap, they needed to trim just under $9.9 million to be cap compliant. So they have about $2.3 million left to trim. 

Johnson’s cap hit was supposed to be $12.48 million, but it’s now just $4.98 million, according to ESPN. He’ll collect a signing bonus of just over $4 million in the process.

Basically, Johnson still gets all his money after an All-Pro season, but it comes to him in a different way. Basically, the way this works is that teams will give a player his money in a bonus instead of salary so that the cap hit is spread out over several years, alleviating a hit in the current year. It obviously didn’t bother Johnson at all and it gives the Eagles much more flexibility.

This is just the latest example of Roseman’s mastery of the NFL salary cap. The Eagles have been good at figuring out these puzzles for some time now. It’s really a waste of time to worry about Philadelphia being in cap hell.

The Eagles must be salary cap compliant at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the start of the new league year.

Big-time pass rusher traded away from NFC East

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Big-time pass rusher traded away from NFC East

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A person familiar with the deal says the New York Giants have traded defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two draft picks.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because neither team has announced the deal that gets Tampa Bay the former first-round draft pick whose career was interrupted by a fireworks accident in 2015 that severely damaged his right hand.

The Giants will receive Tampa Bay's third-round draft pick this season for Pierre-Paul, who signed a four-year, $62 million deal a year ago. The teams will swap fourth-round picks next year.

The trade was first reported by ESPN.

Pierre-Paul had 68 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles last season. He had 58 career sacks since being draft in the first round in 2010. He helped the Giants win a Super Bowl in the 2011 season.

More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

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More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

The Eagles have given veteran defensive end Chris Long a raise, but according to one report, Long is concerned enough about his playing time with the Eagles that he's mulling his options regarding his future.

What is certain is that at some point before March 15, Long signed a new contract with the Eagles that increases his 2018 base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million fully guaranteed.

However, NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Monday that Long may decide he doesn't want to accept the new contract — which he already signed.

According to Silver, Long is concerned about how many snaps he would get as a third-down rusher following the addition of Pro Bowl pass rusher Michael Bennett.

The Eagles officially acquired Bennett on March 14, although the deal was reported a week earlier. Long's new contract was filed with the NFLPA on March 15, but there is a good chance he agreed to it and signed it before the Bennett acquisition.

Whether or not Long knew Bennett was coming to the Eagles when he signed the restructured deal is unknown. But at some point Long knew about their interest in Bennett and even gave Bennett a "glowing recommendation" when the Eagles asked, according to an interview Long gave to SBNation.  

Long wouldn't appear to have many options. He could retire, in which case he would have to return the $500,000 bonus he received from the Eagles last week.

He could request a trade, which would be bizarre for someone who signed a contract extension just a few days earlier.

Or he could simply play under the terms of the contract restructure and pay increase, which was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia with a source familiar with the renegotiation.

As for the contract itself, including that $500,000 roster bonus — which was also in the previous version of the contract — Long would receive $3 million guaranteed this year instead of $1.5 million non-guaranteed plus $750,000 in easily achieved roster bonuses.

Long had five sacks and forced four fumbles last year as a rotational defensive end. He wound up playing 496 snaps, 10th-most on the defense and only about 10 per game fewer than starter and Pro Bowler Brandon Graham and five per game fewer than starter Vinny Curry, who the Eagles released.

Long, who turns 33 next week, has 63½ career sacks. His 5.0 sacks last year were his most since 2013. He's won back-to-back Super Bowls the last two years with the Eagles and Patriots.

What happens next?

Long has demonstrated that the money is secondary to him. He donated his entire 2017 base salary to charity.

At some point very soon, the Eagles will need him to decide whether he's even going to have a 2018 base salary.