salary cap

NFL free agency 2020: Detailing all 9 of Eagles new signings

NFL free agency 2020: Detailing all 9 of Eagles new signings

Since free agency began last month, the Eagles have reached deals with nine players and none of them will have big salary cap hits in 2020. 

In fact, all nine will combine for a cap hit of $20,831,875 in the upcoming season. Here’s an overall look at the Eagles’ current salary cap situation and how much room they have left.

Of the nine new contracts, just three are for longer than one year. 

Here’s a closer look at all of the new deals: 

Javon Hargrave 

Summary: The Eagles got the 27-year-old defensive tackle on a three-year, $39 million contract that includes $26 million in guaranteed money and a signing bonus of $11.75 million. Hargrave has a base salary of $1 million in 2020 but it jumps to $12.75 million in the subsequent two years. 

Notes: The Eagles were able to alleviate some salary cap stress by adding two dummy years at the end of this contract. It’s a trick they like to use to spread out that signing bonus money for cap purposes. The 2023 and 2024 years void automatically but there is dead money left over in 2023 when Hargrave is gone (the remaining prorated signing bonus amounts). 

2020 cap hit: $3,450,000
2021 cap hit: $15,200,000
2022 cap hit: $15,450,000

2023 cap hit: $4,900,000

Darius Slay 

Summary: The Eagles traded third- and fifth-round picks to get Slay and then then gave him an extension. Because Slay had one year left on his deal in Detroit, the Eagles gave him a three-year extension worth just over $50 million. Combined, this becomes a four-year deal worth $60.55 million. There’s a total guarantee of $30.05M, $13 million of which is a signing bonus. 

Notes: While this is technically a four-year contract, it could basically turn into a two-year, $26 million deal. The Eagles could cut slay before the 2022 season; that would save $13.25M in cap space with $6.5M in dead money. If they cut him after the 2022 season, they would save $17.5M in 2023 with just $3.25 million in dead space. 

2020 cap hit: $4,300,000
2021 cap hit: $15,750,000
2022 cap hit: $19,750,000
2023 cap hit: $20,750,000

Rodney McLeod 

Summary: McLeod’s two-year contract is worth $8.65 million but he has the potential to earn $1.7 million more in incentives per year. McLeod got a $3 million signing bonus and a total guarantee of $5.5 million. 

Notes: Because of that guaranteed money, you can expect McLeod to play out this two year deal in Philly. This is another of those “dummy years” contracts. It’s technically a five-year contract but the final three years void for salary cap purposes and the remaining prorated amounts become dead money in 2022. 

2020 cap hit: $2,350,000
2021 cap hit: $5,200,000

2022 cap hit: $1,800,000
 

Jalen Mills

Summary: The Eagles brought Mills back on a one-year, $4 million deal with $2 million guaranteed. That $2 million comes to him immediately in the form of a signing bonus. Mills also has the potential to earn another million in incentives. 

Notes: Because Mills’ guaranteed money is all signing bonus, his base salary in 2020 is technically not guaranteed. But the Eagles didn’t bring him back to cut him. 

2020 cap hit: $4,000,000

Will Parks

Summary: The Philly native got a one-year, $1.5 million contract from the Birds that includes $1.375 million in guaranteed money and a signing bonus of $375K. He has a base salary of $1M in 2020 and per-game roster bonuses that total $125,000. 

Notes: Since Parks played in just 14 games last season, just 14/16ths of his per-game roster bonus money counts toward his cap hit. It doesn’t mean he’ll earn any less, but he counts a little less against the cap.  

2020 cap hit: $1,484,375

Nickell Robey-Coleman

Summary: The veteran nickel corner’s one-year deal with the Eagles is worth $1.35 million, with a cap hit to match. He got a $300,000 signing bonus and $1.05 million guaranteed. 

Notes: He’s 28 now but Robey-Coleman is a good nickel corner and the Eagles got him for a pretty solid price. In his three years with the Rams, NRC earned over $12.5 million, an average of over $4 million per season. 

2020 cap hit: $1,350,000

Jatavis Brown 

Summary: The Eagles got the former Chargers linebacker on a one-year deal worth $1.047 million. He got a total guarantee of $550K and a signing bonus of $50K. 

Notes: This is a Veteran Salary benefit deal — designed to get teams to sign veterans instead of younger, cheaper players — so his $910K base salary will count as $750K against the cap. After that, he has a $50K signing bonus and an $87.5K roster bonus to make up his cap hit. 

2020 cap hit: $887,500

Nate Sudfeld 

Summary: The Eagles brought back their backup quarterback on a one-year deal worth $2 million and a cap hit to match. Sudfeld got a signing bonus of $500K and a total of $1 million guaranteed. 

Notes: This deal is actually a significant pay cut for Sudfeld. Last year, as a restricted free agent, the Eagles tagged him at a second-round level, which paid him a salary of $3.095 million. 

2020 cap hit: $2,000,000

Hassan Ridgeway 

Summary: The Eagles brought back Ridgeway on a one-year deal worth just north of a million bucks. He got a $25,000 signing bonus and that’s his only guaranteed money. In addition to his $910K base salary and his signing bonus, Ridgeway also has a $25K workout bonus. 

Notes: The Eagles like Ridgeway as their fourth defensive tackle but they haven’t married themselves to him. Cutting him would leave just $25K in dead money, so if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.

2020 cap hit: $1,010,000 

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More on the Eagles

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 to receive just under $8 million in salary cap carryover for 2017

Eagles to receive just under $8 million in salary cap carryover for 2017

The Eagles are getting salary cap help. Just not quite as much as they expected.  

The NFL Players Association announced the official 2017 salary-cap carryover figures on Wednesday, and the Eagles will receive $7,933,869 in extra cap space this coming year on top of the unadjusted salary cap figure that every team begins the offseason with.

The NFL’s official 2017 salary cap figure hasn’t yet been announced, but it’s expected to be somewhere in the $166 to $170 million range, up from a record-$155.3 million in 2016.

Under terms of the CBA, teams can receive credit in each year’s salary cap for cap space that went unused the previous season. This creates an adjusted cap figure that can vary by tens of millions of dollars per team.

The Eagles under former team president Joe Banner were the first to use this once-obscure technique in the late 1990s. Today, every team uses it to some extent.

The more carryover money a team gets, the more it has to spend relative to the combined cap figures of players under contract the coming year.

The NFLPA originally estimated in the fall that the Eagles would receive $8.25 million in carryover money, so the new figure is about $316,000 less than originally expected.

It’s also the ninth-highest of the 32 teams, although below the average of $9.18 million. That’s because the top few carryover figures are so much ridiculously higher than the average (Browns $50.1 million, 49ers $38.7 million, Titans $24.0 million).

According to salary cap data tracker Spotrac, the Eagles have 52 players under contract for 2017 with a total combined cap figure of $158,040,710.

With an $168 million unadjusted cap, the Eagles would have an adjusted cap figure of $175,933,869.

They have $7,055,933 in dead money, mainly from trading Sam Bradford ($5.5 million) and Eric Rowe ($904,496) but also from departed players such as Andrew Gardner ($250,000), Josh Huff ($138,986) and Blake Countess ($98,678).

Subtract the 2017 contract obligations – the $158,040,710 figure – along with the dead money – the $7,055,033 figure – and that leaves the Eagles with roughly $10.84 million in cap space.

That figure may not include some 2016 bonuses that have not yet been made public. And it doesn’t include, for example, a $500,000 pay raise Peters got by triggering a contract escalator.

So that reduces the $10.84 million figure to $10.34 million.

From there, about $4 ½ million or so will go to the 2017 rookie pool.

So that leaves the Eagles currently with somewhere in the ballpark of $6 million in cap space.

Now, the Eagles will obviously be able to increase that number by releasing players.

They would more than double their cap space just by releasing Connor Barwin, who has a $8.35 million cap number but would cost only $600,000 in dead money for a cap savings of $7.75 million.

Jason Peters ($9.2 million), Jason Kelce ($3.8 million), Ryan Mathews ($4 million), Leodis McKelvin ($3.2 million) and Mychal Kendricks ($1.8 million) would also clear large amounts of cap space.

So for example by releasing Barwin, Kelce, McKelvin and Mathews, they would increase their cap space by a whopping $18.75 million. 

Of course, then the Eagles have to think about replacing those players with cheaper versions while still trying to build a playoff roster.

Whatever happens, the Eagles are in a unique position as they enter the 2017 offseason, with far less cap flexibility than other years.

“Yeah, it's unusual, certainly since I've been here, to have a more challenging situation,” vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said earlier this month.

“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.”