As we get closer to the start of the new league year, which begins at 4 p.m. on March 13, it’s a good time to take a closer look at the Eagles’ salary cap situation and some moves they could make to create more space.
First, it’s important to know the 2019 salary cap hasn’t yet been officially set, but it’s estimated to be around $191 million. The Eagles will carry over around $6 million in cap space from the 2018 season, so their adjusted cap will be around $197 million.
For now, according to OverTheCap, the Eagles have around $210 million tied up with their top 51 players, which is what counts toward their salary cap figure. As you can see, the Eagles are obviously set to be over the cap, but they won’t be that way for long once Nick Foles comes off the books.
The Eagles exercised the option year on his contract, but Foles immediately told them he’d buy his way to free agency for $2 million. It’s a confusing contract, but know the Eagles will be cap compliant if Foles simply walks as a free agent.
But if the Eagles really want to try some tag-and-trade scenario, things get even trickier. In that event, if Foles signs the tag, they would need to make sure around $25 million is cleared for Foles. Because even if they trade him, the Eagles still need to fit that salary under the cap by the start of the league year. They can’t trade him unless he’s officially on the team at 4 p.m. on March 13.
So here’s a closer look at some work that’s already been done and some that might be yet to come:
We already said it, but it’s worth repeating. If Foles simply walks, it will clear up around $20 million with his salary. It would be awfully tough for the Eagles to create the necessary $25 million in space to possibly trade Foles, but not impossible. It is, however, just one of many hurdles on that route.
The Eagles’ safety, who is coming off an ACL tear, was set to have a cap hit of over $9.9 million, which simply wasn’t going to work. That’s why McLeod agreed to a restructure a couple weeks ago that took his cap hit from $9.9 million to $4.8 million. That’s a cap savings of over $5 million. Howie Roseman is good at this stuff.
The Eagles’ aging offensive tackle is set to have a cap hit of just over $13 million in 2019. The Eagles could simply cut him to save over $10 million in cap space, but then who’s playing left tackle? They could also simply ask him to take a pay cut, but not sure he’d sign up for that. And since he’s 37 years old, an extension to spread out that cap hit probably doesn’t make a ton of sense either. It’s a high cap number for an aging and often banged-up player, but the Eagles might not have a ton of better options.
Agholor is set to play the 2019 season on his fifth-year option, which is a one year worth $9.387 million that’s not guaranteed. So the Eagles could move on from him and save that much money. But I still think Agholor is a great candidate for an extension. The Eagles could alleviate a big portion of his cap hit and lock up one of their better offensive playmakers for the next few seasons. I think it’s safe to say they don’t want him to be counting for over $9 million in 2019.
For the 2019 season, Jernigan is set to have a cap hit of $13 million and I’ll put it at 0 percent he plays next season with a cap hit that high. It just can’t happen. His injury last year ended up removing all the guaranteed money (aside from signing bonus) from his contract. Because of that, he has no leverage. If he’s back next season, it’ll be for an extremely discounted price. Otherwise, he’s gone. The Eagles would have to absorb $6 million in dead money for his prorated bonuses but would save $7 million in cap space by cutting him.
Wiz is set to have a cap hit of $3.7 million in 2019, which originally made me think of him as a possible cut, but the injury to Brandon Brooks changed all that. The Eagles could save $3 million in cap space by cutting Wisniewski, but they might very well need him to start at right guard early in the season if Brooks isn’t back.
While it seems like Kelce is leaning toward returning for another season, he has at least thought about retirement and I wonder if it has something to do with his contract. He’s set to make $6.5 million in 2019 but it’s all non-guaranteed money. The Eagles could cut him with zero penalty in 2019 or 2020. He’s 31 now, but Kelce is arguably the best center in the league and should be another candidate for a contract extension.
He might be 33, but Bennett ended up having a really good 2018 season and was probably the Eagles’ best defensive end. They’ll really need him to return, especially if Brandon Graham doesn’t come back. In 2019, Bennett will count for $7.2 million in cap space and will count for $8 million in space for 2020. All of that is non-guaranteed. Not sure about an extension because of his age, but if they don’t want to move on from him this offseason, that remains a possibility this time next year.
The Eagles would probably like to have Long back for next season, but he’s in the part of his career where he contemplates retirement every offseason. He is set to have a cap hit of $5.6 million, so if he retires, the Eagles would save some space. But they might just as well want to have him on the team for that price.
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