Eagles

Eagles find another way to create more cap room

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Eagles find another way to create more cap room

The Eagles are staying creative as they work through a difficult salary cap situation in 2018. 

After already restructuring Lane Johnson’s contract earlier in the week to save $7.5 million in cap space, the Eagles have reportedly done it again, this time with Zach Ertz. 

The Eagles created over $5.4 million in cap space this year by reworking Ertz’s contract, according to ESPN’s Field Yates

Just like Johnson, Ertz isn’t taking a pay cut. The Eagles turned $7.21 million of his $8 million base salary into a guaranteed bonus. This is another move that will spread out Ertz’s cap hit over the remaining years of his contract. 

Ertz agreed to restructure his contract in a similar way last March, too. The nice thing about Ertz’s contract, from the Eagles’ perspective, is it wasn’t insanely back-loaded. That’s probably why they feel better about adding more money to the last three years. 

As NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank wrote Wednesday, it’s foolish at this point to question Howie Roseman’s mastery of the salary cap. Every year there are questions and every year Roseman finds a way to make it work. 

But there are reasons teams don’t do this more often. In a way, these types of moves just push the problem off to future years to help in the present day, but it’s likely Roseman’s plan extends well beyond this year. 

For now, the Eagles have gotten themselves out of salary cap hell. They were under for the start of the league year and these moves will allow them to fit in Nigel Bradham and Haloti Ngata. They could still use some extra room to sign more free agents and eventually pay their draft picks. 

The next possible moves that would create more space would be to cut or restructure Vinny Curry’s contract. On Wednesday, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn reported the Eagles asked Curry to restructure and if he doesn’t, it might force them to release him. And Mychal Kendricks is reportedly being shopped for the 256th straight offseason. Cutting Curry would save $5 million in space and trading Kendricks would save $4.4 million. 

Another option would be to offer an extension to Brandon Graham, who is entering the final year of his contract with a cap hit of $8 million, but we haven’t heard much about that recently. 

It’s never boring with Roseman around. 

If Saints fans can sue, I have a litigation list of my own

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If Saints fans can sue, I have a litigation list of my own

I didn’t know we could sue. 

Nobody told me we could sue. This changes everything. 

Instead of simply dealing with heartbreak the way hundreds of thousands of fans have done for decades, for centuries, New Orleans Saints fans have filed two separate civil suits against the NFL after a no-call inflicted anguish and emotional trauma.

The Saints did get screwed by that clear defensive pass interference that wasn’t called in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s NFC Championship Game loss. But the evidence shows they still had a lead after that drive and Drew Brees did get the ball back to start the overtime against the Rams. 

At first, I thought it was pretty silly for Saints fans to sue the NFL, but then it got me thinking … if we’re suing, I’ve got a litigation list of my own. 

So the following should expect to hear from my attorneys: 

Joe Carter: You, sir, ruined my childhood. I was 5 years old when Carter hit that home run in the World Series in 1993. At that point in my life, there hadn’t been much pain. I just assumed the Phillies would win the World Series. Why wouldn’t they? I mean, talk about anguish. You ruined 5-year-old Dave’s generally happy disposition. Sure, Mitch Williams deserves plenty of blame and I know he got it in this town, but I’ll never be able to hear the name “Joe Carter” without a shiver going down my spine. It’s still hard to watch. That’s gotta be worth something in the court of law.

The Patriots: This was long before I covered the Eagles. In fact, I was still in high school when the Patriots beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Although that loss was avenged last year by a different Eagles team, the thought here is still that the Patriots cheated in 2005. Even former Eagles linebackers coach Steve Spagnuolo thinks the Patriots cheated in the Super Bowl. This was, of course, before the whole Spygate drama, so it went under the radar back then. But a good portion of those Eagles players still think they were cheated out of a Super Bowl. Your honor! 

Scott Stevens: We saw just 7 minutes and 50 seconds of Game 7 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals before Stevens demolished Eric Lindros, who was caught skating with his head down. The Flyers lost the game 2-1 after they once led the series 3-1 and it was the last play of Lindros’ career with the Flyers. By today’s standards, that hit is completely illegal. I’d like this to get to trial under today’s standards, please. 

The Lakers: You shouldn’t be allowed to have Shaq and Kobe on the same team. It’s just not fair. Sure, by today’s standards, that’s far from a mega-team, but back then? It was just unfair. How were the Sixers supposed to deal with that? At least that one game was fun. Game 1 of the Finals that season was the only game the Lakers lost in the 2001 postseason. We’ll always have that. 

Blaine Bishop’s groin: I don’t really know how we’re supposed to sue a groin, and Bishop’s groin is now 48 years old. But back then, it was the injured groin that allowed Joe Jurevicius to spring free on a 71-yard third-down conversion in the first half of the 2002 NFC Championship Game. Momentum swung the wrong way and the underdog Bucs crushed the Eagles 27-10 and went on to beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl. Everyone in Philly still thinks the Eagles would have won that Super Bowl if they got there and they might be right. 

Yankees fans: Cliff Lee got the win in Game 1 of the 2009 World Series and now it was Pedro Martinez’s turn. But you Yankees fans just couldn’t let the past die. You just had to start the “Who’s your daddy?” chants, didn’t you? Well … it turned out the Yankees were still Pedro’s daddy. He wasn’t bad in that game, striking out eight over six innings, but he did give up two homers and three earned runs in the 3-1 loss in New York. We even have visual proof for this one. I’m suing for mental anguish because of mental anguish inflicted upon Pedro. Get out of that! 

The puck in 2010: I’m all for suing the puck that left Patrick Kane’s stick and somehow found its way into the net in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. What a sneaky puck. No one aside from Kane even realized the game was over until Kane started jumping around like a lunatic. If that puck just did its job and found a pad or a post, maybe the Flyers win Game 6 in overtime and they win the Cup in Game 7. 

The Sixers: I was told there would be a moose.

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NFL free agency 2019: What will the Eagles do at running back?

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NFL free agency 2019: What will the Eagles do at running back?

Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Andrew Kulp continue the 2019 edition of Stay or Go, trying to figure out the future of the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Today, they’ll look at running back: 

Jay Ajayi

Roob: I love the way Ajayi runs and nobody can ever take away what a big part of the 2017 Super Bowl run he was. But the knees. I really worry about the knees. The Eagles could sign Ajayi to a risk-free deal and bring him back to see if he can stay healthy, but my gut feeling is they draft a back in the second round and maybe also sign a free agent and move on from Ajayi.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: If Ajayi could get healthy and there were no problems with his knees, he could still be a good running back in this system. But he had knee concerns before his trade to the Eagles and now he’s coming off a torn ACL. Maybe they work out a prove-it deal to keep him in town, but I just don’t think the Eagles can rely on him being healthy. Tough to say goodbye, but I think that’s where we’re heading. 

Verdict: Goes 

Kulp: The Eagles could use a vet ball carrier, and Ajayi’s price will be discounted coming off a torn ACL. That said, the injury is why I ultimately believe the team moves on. Stability is needed in the backfield, meaning healthy bodies, and while Ajayi should be ready Week 1, there’s no telling what you’re getting from a guy who had a bum knee in the first place.

Verdict: Goes

Corey Clement

Roob: Looks like Clement’s the only back I’m keeping. The Eagles really missed him this year. He’s a perfect fit in this offense — a tough runner, a very good receiver, a willing blocker and also a solid special teamer. I don’t think Clement will ever be a lead back, but I do think he’ll be a significant part of the offense in 2019.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: I don’t think Clement is really the answer as a feature back, but I think he can be a nice piece to the puzzle. He never looked truly healthy in 2018 and it showed even before the knee injury that ended his second season. I expect him back in 2019 as a part of the rotation. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Don’t know the precise nature of Clement’s injury, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he misses games in 2019. Still, he’s only 24 and under contract for basically the league minimum. Even if he started the year on the physically unable to perform list and consequently fell out of the mix, Clement could return mid-season and contribute on special teams.

Verdict: Stays

Wendell Smallwood

Roob: Smallwood runs hard, catches the ball pretty well and has had some big games, and he finally proved this year he can stay healthy for a full season. It wouldn’t shock me if he’s back for a fourth season with the Eagles as a reserve back, but I just think the Eagles need to get better across the board at running back, and I don’t think he’s back.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: I’ve counted out Smallwood before. Not going to make that mistake again. I know many Eagles fans have seen more than enough of Smallwood, but he ended up having a big role for the Eagles in 2018 and became the guy in the playoffs. He’ll be battling for a back-end-of-the-roster spot again in 2019. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: Fully anticipate the Eagles adding two backs — a free agent and a draft pick — and those are the primary ball handlers. Yet, Smallwood may have done enough to carve out a role as the No. 3. He is serviceable in a pinch, plays special teams and basically makes the league minimum. And if the backfield gets crowded, he probably has some trade value in August, too.

Verdict: Stays

Darren Sproles

Roob: Tough one. Will Sproles come back for a 15th NFL season or retire? The Eagles counted heavily on Sproles in the postseason, but he averaged only 1.6 yards on 16 carries and had 35 yards on seven catches. Sproles did help down the stretch, but what can the Eagles get out of him at 36 years old? If Sproles does want to play it’s a tough call for the Eagles. Gut feeling is he retires.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: This is all on Sproles. If he wants to come back, I’m sure the Eagles would like to have him. His whole reasoning for coming back in 2018 was because he didn’t want his career to end with an injury. Not sure if he thinks he did enough to feel ready to move on after an injury-plagued season last year. I have a hunch, he’ll want one more chance and if he can stay healthy, he can really help the Eagles. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: I don’t know how Sproles can retire after watching the final seven weeks. He makes one or two big plays seemingly every game. It shouldn’t cost the Eagles a ton of money to keep him, either. Sproles turns 36 and earned less than $1.5 million for 2018, which is a deal for the spark he provides.

Verdict: Stays

Josh Adams

Roob: Adams has some ability and spent a chunk of the fall as the Eagles’ lead back, and had some big games. I think he’ll get every opportunity to make the team next year. But I also expect the Eagles to remake the running back position in 2019, and nothing is guaranteed. Adams isn’t a polished receiver and doesn’t play special teams, and his postseason benching isn’t a good sign for his future here.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: For a short stretch of time in 2018, Adams was the Eagles top running back after not even making the 53-man roster at the beginning of the season. And then he didn’t even play in the playoffs. I think the Eagles are going to draft a running back that can run between the tackles and makes Adams expendable. 

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: Wonder how much Adams’ diminished performance was a result of wearing down and injuries. Even if that were the case, it’s not a great sign given the 22-year-old’s relatively modest workload (157 touches, including preseason). With only one postseason carry, looks like he’s fallen out of favor regardless.

Verdict: Goes

Boston Scott 

Roob: Eagles’ mid-season pickup returned some kicks but was really only here because of injuries to Ajayi and Clement and never got any touches on offense. Scott could be a practice squad type of guy, but I don’t see him playing any sort of role with the Eagles moving forward.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Scott came to the Eagles late in the 2018 season and I haven’t really seen enough one way or the other. He barely played on offense and didn’t blow me away as a returner. He’ll get his fair shot in training camp, but for now, I’m not sold. 

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: The fact that the Eagles plucked this kid off the Saints’ practice squad in December and he was active two weeks later and every game thereafter says something. I just don’t see a spot. Might think better about his chances if Sproles is out of the picture, but that scat back role is likely filled. Scott is a practice squad candidate.

Verdict: Goes

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