richard sherman

Rash of star injuries will help Eagles down stretch

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Rash of star injuries will help Eagles down stretch

Any observer who follows the NFL on a weekly basis can tell you it is incredibly unpredictable. There was a strong contingent of folks who prior to the season believed the New York Jets would not win a game. They already have four victories through nine games. 

The L.A. Rams, who won all of four games last season, are off to a 6-2 start. 

Jacksonville has a better record than the NFC champion Falcons. 

Even Cleveland ... oh wait, never mind. But you get the point. There's a reason why Vegas has all of those big, fancy buildings and why your friendly neighborhood buddy who you call every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday continues to keep taking those calls. They're making money off of you and the betting public because this is a tough league to predict. 

It's difficult to win on a weekly basis in the NFL. Which makes the Eagles' 8-1 start and streak of seven straight wins that much more impressive. Simply put, they have played better football than any other team through nine games. This has been no fluke. It should be pointed out, however, that in those first nine games, only two of those teams currently have a winning record, the Chiefs and Panthers. Certainly not the Eagles' fault — they've contributed to the fact that the Redskins are 4-4, handing them two of those losses. But the schedule gets tougher down the stretch as they face 5-3 Dallas twice, the 6-3 Seahawks and the aforementioned 6-2 Rams. Three of those games come on the road.

And while the Eagles themselves have suffered some major losses with season-ending injuries to Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks and Darren Sproles, the teams they have coming up over their final seven games will be without some big-time firepower as well. Let's take a look.

Cowboys — Week 11 and 17
Stop me if you've heard this before but Ezekiel Elliott is suspended. At least for right now. The Birds would miss him a week from Sunday at Dallas. He would be eligible to return for the season finale in Philadelphia. Who knows if that game will hold any meaning to the Eagles. Elliott rushed for an NFL-high 1,631 yards, 5.1 yards per carry and 15 touchdowns as a rookie and was the second-leading rusher this season prior to the suspension. 

The Cowboys are a vastly different team without Elliott and there will be a great deal more pressure on Dak Prescott if their run game does not flourish with Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. Not to mention a defense that could be exposed if the Cowboys can't control the ball or put up a lot of points.

Seahawks — Week 13
The Seahawks were dealt a major blow when they lost cornerback Richard Sherman for the season to a torn Achilles Thursday night. Sherman is a shutdown corner who has accumulated 32 interceptions in seven seasons. And at 6-foot-3, he is a physical, willing tackler. Sherman's absence will really change the dynamic of a Seahawks defense that, while still very good, is not quite what it once was a few years back. 

With Sherman in the game Thursday, Cardinals QB Drew Stanton rarely threw to his side. Once Sherman left, the Cardinals threw to that side with regularity.

Giants — Week 15
New York is a hide-the-children-and-pets kind of bad this season. Ben McAdoo and his coif shouldn't be buying any green bananas but this was a team that won 11 games and made the playoffs last year. So what happened? Injuries for one. The Giants will be without arguably the league's best receiver in Odell Beckham Jr. in Week 15 vs. the Eagles, not to mention Brandon Marshall. 

Injuries aren't the only reason this team is 1-7. They've had players go AWOL, their O-line stinks, Eli Manning may be nearing the end of the road, and McAdoo appears to be lost. But no Beckham in a game that late in the season that may have major playoff implications for the Eagles. It could be huge. Especially coming off what appears a very tough back-to-back on the road at Seattle and at Los Angeles against the Rams.

I, for one, don't subscribe to the "give me the other teams' best" school of thinking. If the Eagles can miss Elliott for a game, or Sherman, or OBJ, great. When you've never won a Super Bowl, I'll take the path of least resistance. I'm pretty sure Cowboys or Rams fans aren't shedding any tears over Jason Peters being out in those games. Take it any way you can get it. And enjoy the ride.

Philly Twitter begs Richard Sherman to come to Philly, he responds

Philly Twitter begs Richard Sherman to come to Philly, he responds

The reality of a Richard Sherman trade to the Eagles being incredibly difficult for the Birds certainly won't stop Philly fans from dreaming about the stud cornerback coming to town.

In fact, a couple of crazy Philly Twitter peeps attempted to lure Sherman here with the promise of super fast wifi, video games, and a spot in the top (or bottom) bunk.

It all started with a ProFootballFocus tweet about Sherman and how he stacks up against some of the CB competition around the league.

To which Sherman himself responded.

That's when Eagles fan and Philly Twitter superstar cranekicker got involved.

Sherman liked the offer.

Others chimed in with the promise of video games.

CSNPhilly then took this conversation and aired it in a news segment (video above) which we blogged about thus completing the Internet circle of life. See you in Philly soon, Richard.

A Richard Sherman trade just doesn't add up for Eagles

A Richard Sherman trade just doesn't add up for Eagles

Should the Eagles trade a pick or picks in 2017 NFL Draft for Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman?

Perhaps a more apt question is Can the Eagles trade for Richard Sherman? Because while Howie Roseman has once again proven himself a magician with the salary cap, there are a number of hoops to jump through before taking on Sherman's $11.43 million salary this season.

The Eagles currently have only $1.95 million to spend, according to OverTheCap.com. Now, they could potentially save $5 million if they designate Mychal Kendricks as a post-June 1 cut, another $3.8 million if Jason Kelce is traded, and $2.1 million if Allen Barbre is released -- all distinct possibilities. Adjusted to account for the new top 51 salaries on the roster (the salaries that make up an NFL team's payroll under the salary cap), those moves get the club to $11.72 million, which is just enough to cover Sherman.

In practice, it's far less simple. The Eagles are believed to be trying to trade Kendricks, which if they were able to do so, would prevent them from proactively using the June 1 designation, dropping the savings to $1.8 million. Meanwhile, if Kelce is on the block, there doesn’t appear to be much interest around the league at this stage, so that means the Eagles may have to bring the axe down to collect his $3.8 million. And at this point, Barbre’s $2.1 million is no longer enough, which means more salary dumps.

Under this scenario, the Eagles need to create an additional $2.91 million to afford Sherman. This is where things really begin to get tricky, because it involves releasing more players than you might think. For example, the Eagles could cut Dorial Green-Beckham and free up $0.94 million, but that elevates another player to the top 51, and the actual savings becomes $0.34 million. Do this roughly nine or 10 times on the back end of the roster, and you will eventually have enough money to pay Sherman.

That is assuming the Eagles have traded their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to Seattle in exchange for the four-time Pro Bowl selection. Otherwise, it's not enough after all. Based on OverTheCap’s current estimate, the Eagles will need $6.79 million to pay the incoming draft class. Remove their first-round pick from the equation, and it brings the number down to $4.29 million, which is more or less doable with top 51 replacements, but anything significantly higher is a problem.

Does this sound feasible to anybody? If yes, then congratulations! You’ve just released around 13 top-51 players and dealt the 14th-overall choice in the 2017 NFL Draft for a 29-year-old cornerback who’s under contract for two more seasons.

There are easier paths to conjuring the necessary cap space to fit Sherman, and he probably shouldn't cost the Eagles a first-round pick, either. Say Kendricks (post-June 1 designation), Kelce and Barbre are released and the trade is for a second-round choice. Sound better? Of course it does, although the club will still need $5.70 million to sign its rookies, requiring another cut, or two, or three -- wave goodbye to Green-Beckham, and/or Marcus Smith… and/or Matt Tobin for good measure.

The list of players who wind up on the street isn't likely to garner any sympathy from fans, especially if the end result puts Sherman in an Eagles uniform. However, these decisions present challenges, and there will be consequences. Depth along the offensive and defensive lines takes a hit, while the first- or second-round pick that is shipped to Seattle plus whatever Kendricks might have fetched are young talents deleted from the equation.

There are reasons we don't often see cap-strapped teams make these types of blockbuster swaps. For a rebuilding franchise like the Eagles, it makes less sense than normal. Suppose Carson Wentz isn't ready to lead a team to the Super Bowl in 2017. Well, Sherman turns 30 next year, and it will be the final season of his contract.

In other words, that was a lot of restructuring, a lot of young talent out the door, all for a pricey veteran who may not be very helpful or even on the roster when the Eagles do start to make that push.

Can the Eagles trade for Sherman? With enough juggling, Roseman can do just about anything. Should the Eagles trade for Sherman? Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should.