Eagles

What would it even take to make a Nick Foles trade worthwhile?

What would it even take to make a Nick Foles trade worthwhile?

Believe it or not, there are a few negatives when it comes to winning a Super Bowl. One is having your assistant coaches poached from your talons. And the feeding frenzy is well in effect for the Eagles as they have already lost their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. It happens.

The other slight downside is where you will be selecting in the draft.

The Eagles hold the 32nd overall pick (last) in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. That’s the price of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and having Mayor Kelce be the keynote speaker at the parade. Where this gets a little more worrisome is the fact that the Birds do not own a second-round pick. That went to Cleveland as part of the Carson Wentz deal — a trade-off I think any Eagle fan would take. Oh, by the way, they also don’t have a third-rounder. That went to Buffalo in the Ronald Darby trade.

So if you’re scoring at home, that’s the last pick in the first round and nothing again until the fourth? Not exactly ideal. However, they do have a “backup” quarterback who led them to a championship and won Super Bowl MVP. He will never have more value than he does right now. Let’s make a deal you say? I wouldn’t be so quick to pull that trigger.

Wentz tore his ACL and injured his LCL on Dec. 10. The Eagles' first regular-season game projects to be right around nine months from the injury. That’s assuming no setbacks. It could also mean a compromised football workload while he rehabs the knee — OTAs, the early portion of training camp, etc. There is no doubt Wentz will go above and beyond when it comes to making it back for the start of next season. But sometimes the mind will lose out to the body. There is no guarantee he will be ready to start the season. Wentz also plays a very aggressive style of football. I, for one, have no problem with the way he plays. I thought he did a good job for the most part of avoiding the unnecessary big blows. The play he got hurt on was a good football play, trying to score a touchdown. But because of his athleticism and strength, he is going to get hit more than most QBs.

Even taking Wentz's knee injury out of the equation for a moment, ask yourself how many backups in the NFL could have stepped in and accomplished what Nick Foles did during that magical run? I did and the answer was none. He’s the best backup in the league. Foles went toe-to-toe with the G.O.A.T. and The Hoodie on the biggest stage and dropped 41. Truly remarkable. Is a late first- or second-rounder worth that?

There is no doubt that if say, the Cardinals, offered you the 15th overall pick, that could be a game-changer. There are offers that are too good to refuse. But a mid-second-rounder for the value that Foles gives you? The smart play could be to hold on to the known quantity. The NFL is littered with backups who can’t play. The types of guys who bring an end to your season no matter how good you are in other areas. Howie Roseman has shown himself to be very deft at making deals and acquiring draft picks, so the cupboard may be thin right now, but some groceries could be added with some wheeling and dealing.  

The Eagles have the ultimate insurance policy. It might be wise to keep making the payments just in case.

Eagles hoping no-risk, high-reward veteran signings can rekindle past success

Eagles hoping no-risk, high-reward veteran signings can rekindle past success

When you’re in salary cap hell, you have to be creative when building a roster.

And one tactic Howie Roseman used when putting together the Eagles team that begins training camp Thursday is signing a handful of no-risk, high-reward guys.

Players trying to revive their careers. Players trying to reclaim past glory. Players running out of chances.

These are no-risk, high-reward guys. They could become contributors, but if it doesn’t work out? The Eagles can release them before the season with modest or no cap ramifications.

When you’re in salary cap hell, you can’t sign all the free agents you want. So you sign the free agents that you can. And you do that by signing players nobody else wants. Guys with no leverage.

One tool Roseman likes to use is the NFL’s minimum-salary benefit, which gives teams some salary cap relief when they sign veteran players to certain deals.

The minimum-salary benefit can be used only for veterans with at least four years of experience who sign one-year minimum-wage deals with combined bonuses equalling $90,000 or less. 

Here’s a look at four of these no-risk, high-reward players the Eagles added this offseason.

Markus Wheaton

The Eagles signed Wheaton to a one-year deal with a $790,000 base salary (sixth-year minimum) with a $45,000 signing bonus, a $45,000 workout bonus but a cap number of $720,000, thanks to the minimum-salary benefit.

If the Eagles release Wheaton before the season, he would count just $90,000 against the cap, the value of his two bonuses.

Wheaton is only 27 and should be in his prime but has done nearly nothing the last two seasons after two very good years.

In 2014 and 2015, he combined for 97 catches for 1,393 yards, seven touchdowns and a 14.4 average. He had seven catches of 40 yards or more during those two years. Pretty good production.

But the last two years, Wheaton had just seven catches for 102 yards and one TD for the Steelers and Bears.

If he’s healthy and can be even half the player he was in 2014 and 2015, he could really help as a fourth receiver.

Matt Jones

The Eagles signed Jones to a two-year, $1.51 million deal that includes base salaries of $705,000 this year and $805,000 next year with no bonus money, which means no dead cap money if he’s released.

Even though Jones’ deal is not subject to the minimum-salary benefit, his base salaries of $705,000 and $805,000 are minimum wage for a third-year veteran in 2018 and a fourth-year vet in 2019.

Jones was one of the NFL’s best running backs the first half of 2016. Through seven games, he had 460 yards and a 4.6 average with three TDs. In a mid-October win over the Eagles at FedEx Field, he ran for 135 yards, the most rushing yards against the Eagles the last two years.

But he hurt his knee and never got his job back, then was released before last season. He resurfaced with the Colts but had only five carries all year.

Jones is only 25 and is a good enough receiver that he caught 19 passes for 304 yards and a TD as a rookie reserve.

With LeGarrette Blount gone, Jay Ajayi on a pitch count because of chronic knee soreness, Corey Clement’s role still undefined and Darren Sproles likely to be limited on offense at 35 years old, Jones will have a chance to work his way into the mix.

And if it doesn’t work out? No cap hit.

Richard Rodgers

The Eagles signed Rodgers to a one-year, $880,000 contract that includes a $790,000 base salary, a $45,000 signing bonus, a $45,000 workout bonus and a $720,000 cap figure, courtesy of the minimum-salary benefit rule.

If the Eagles release him, he’ll count $245,000 in dead money, the amount of guaranteed money in his one-year deal.

As recently as 2015, Rodgers caught 58 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdowns, which ranked him 12th among all NFL tight ends in catches and fifth in TDs. But he dropped to 30 catches in 2016 and just 12 last year.

Rodgers is only 26 and should be in his prime, but he’s reached only 30 yards twice in his last 31 games.

With Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, the Eagles have a potent 1-2 punch, but if Rodgers can regain his form of 2015, it would give Doug Pederson even more options in a ridiculously talented array of skill players.

LaRoy Reynolds

The Eagles signed Reynolds to a one-year, $880,000 contract that includes a $790,000 base salary, a $90,000 roster bonus and a reduced $720,000 cap figure.

Because there’s nothing guaranteed in his contract, the Eagles would not absorb any dead money under the cap if they release him before the season.

Reynolds, now with his fourth team in four years, has played in 68 games with seven starts. He’s only 27 and is considered an above-average special teamer and adequate depth linebacker.

The Eagles have some big question marks at linebacker, with Paul Worrilow (Reynolds’ former teammate) out for the year, Mychal Kendricks now with the Browns, Nigel Bradham suspended for the opener and Jordan Hicks able to finish one of his first three seasons.

Reynolds will have a chance to work into that mix. If not? No harm done.

More on the Eagles

Eagle Eye: When does a contract negotiation become a problem?

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Eagle Eye: When does a contract negotiation become a problem?

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, John Clark and Barrett Brooks are pumped for the start of training camp. Following MLB Commissioner's comments on Mike Trout's marketability, the guys discuss if it's on the player or the league to market an athlete? The Falcons said they will not give Julio Jones a new contract. At what point does a public contract negotiation become a distraction in the locker room?

1:00 - Guys are excited for the start of training camp.
4:45 - Is it on a player or a league to market an athlete?
11:00 - When does a Julio Jones contract situation become a locker room distraction?
18:00 - When money starts dividing a locker room.

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