Most likely to least likely top 5 Eagles salary cap casualties

Most likely to least likely top 5 Eagles salary cap casualties

Thanks to the nearly $8 million of salary cap carryover from the 2016 season, the Eagles have just under $11 million in salary cap room to work with this season. Among that, about $4.5 million needs to go to rookies in 2017. 

So the Eagles might need to get creative. 

“Yeah, it's unusual, certainly since I've been here, to have a more challenging situation,” vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said after the season ended in January. “But part of our job in the front office is to look at this over a long period of time. So as we sit here today, it isn't like the first time that we are looking at that situation, and we'll do whatever's best for the football team.”

What's best for the football team this offseason might be to release some veterans with big contracts in order to free up some cap space.  

Here's a look at five guys who cutting would save the team $28.45 million in cap space. The list goes from most likely to least likely: 

Ryan Mathews
To me, this one is a no-brainer. Mathews is 29 and will turn 30 during the 2017 season and is now coming back from a significant neck injury he suffered late this season. When healthy in Philly, Mathews was actually a good running back, but he had trouble staying healthy, which has been a problem throughout his career. 

Looking at the money, Mathews is set to have a $5 million cap hit in 2017, the final year of the three-year deal he signed with the Eagles before the 2015 season. The Eagles would save his entire base salary ($4 million) by cutting him. 

The Eagles will need to find someone to replace Mathews as their bell cow back, but that's exactly what they should do. 

Connor Barwin
Barwin, 30, has said he's willing to take a pay cut to remain with the Eagles, but it would probably have to be a really big pay cut. He just wasn't productive enough in the new defense and still seems like a better fit in a 3-4 defense. 

It's a shame that the team will probably part with Barwin, because he's a great guy who does a ton of incredible charity work within the city. But football is a business and the numbers dictate a lot of moves. Barwin is set to have a cap hit of $8.35 million in 2017 and the Eagles can save $7.75 million by cutting him. 

Leodis McKelvin
McKelvin's first season with the Eagles didn't go as well as anyone would have hoped. He suffered a hamstring injury early in the year and it never went away. And then his play wasn't great either. It was a season of ups and downs for the veteran but too often he was on the wrong side of a big play. 

McKelvin, 31, is set to have a cap hit of $3.45 million in 2017 and the Eagles can save $3.2 million if they cut him. 

The only chance is if Jim Schwartz really goes to bat for his player and the Eagles really think that hamstring was to blame for his subpar play. 

Jason Kelce
Kelce, 29, is coming off his second-career Pro Bowl, but even he wouldn't try to convince anyone he had a Pro Bowl season. In fact, he said earlier in the year that he needed to play better or would become expendable. 

While Kelce wasn't great in 2016, he wasn't terrible either and he probably played better than most people realize. If nothing else, he would be a constant for Carson Wentz as the quarterback enters his second NFL season. 

Kelce is set to have a $6.2 million cap hit in 2017, which isn't awful. But the Eagles would save $3.8 million if they decided to cut him. 

Jason Peters 
I don't think this one is happening, but it's at least worth talking about. At 35, Peters at left tackle and Lane Johnson at right tackle is still probably the best offensive line the Eagles can put together. But Peters is expensive. After hitting another Pro Bowl escalator in 2016, his 2017 salary cap number is $11.7 million, which means the Eagles would save $9.7 million if they cut him. 

Nearly $10 million in cap savings would be a huge deal, but then they'd have to find a player to spend it on and they might not get as good a return than if they just stick with Peters. 

Eagles have reportedly hired Marquand Manuel as the new secondary coach

Eagles have reportedly hired Marquand Manuel as the new secondary coach

Marquand Manuel is the Eagles’ new secondary coach, according to a tweet by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The 40-year-old Manuel replaces Cory Undlin, who had served in that role since 2015, first under Chip Kelly and the last four years under Doug Pederson. Undlin was named Lions defensive coordinator two weeks ago.

Manuel and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz go back a ways. Manuel played for the Lions in 2009 when Schwartz was their head coach.

Manuel was not in the NFL this past year. He spent the previous four years under Dan Quinn with the Falcons, two years as secondary coach and two years as defensive coordinator before getting fired following the 2018 season.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl in his second year in Atlanta, losing to the Patriots in Houston.

Before Atlanta, Manuel spent three years working under Quinn with the Seahawks, holding a variety of titles on the defensive staff.

Manuel, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, was the Bengals’ 6th-round pick in 2002 and spent eight years as a safety in the NFL with six different teams — the Bengals, Seahawks, Packers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions.

He played in 116 games, starting 58, with two interceptions and a pick-6 while he was with the Packers in 2006 off Jon Kitna of the Lions.

The Eagles also reportedly interviewed Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker for the position.

The Eagles already have a safeties coach on the staff, former Eagle Tim Hauck. He was Pederson's teammate with the Eagles in 1999 and has been on Pederson's staff since 2016.

Quinn had this to say about Manuel on the Falcons’ web site back in 2018:

From the time I've met him from now, one thing that's cool to see that has stayed consistent is the energy and enthusiasm he has for players. He made the transition from player to coach really seamlessly because he knew the boundaries of coach, but he also stepped across to say, I can push you. That's not easy to do. He's always had mental quickness of a quarterback or someone who gets concepts really quickly. That transferred into this coaching fast. He can communicate concepts and ideas quickly to people on the run, in the moment, that's a really valuable asset as a coach.

The Eagles still have openings to replace the three assistant coaches Doug Pederson fired: offensive coordinator Mike Groh, wide receivers coach Carson Walch and defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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