At any given time, somebody is asking how much salary cap space the Eagles have left.
A better question would be does it even matter anymore?
With his latest round of contract restructurings, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has once again demonstrated his expertise in circumventing the NFL’s spending limit. On Friday, Roseman actually gave backup quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles more money despite the team’s ongoing cap crunch, then turned around on Monday and redid Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks’ deal to save $4 million.
For most teams around the NFL, that’s a series of moves worth applauding. For the Eagles under Roseman, it’s just another day at the office.
Roseman has been doing the seemingly impossible to stretch the Eagles’ finances further than anybody thought they could go for years now. Frankly, he’s putting amateur cap analysts out of business, because every time Spotrac or Over The Cap makes you think the organization is about to go through a real belt-tightening, Roseman makes a big splash instead.
This past offseason, the Eagles retained Foles, extended Nigel Bradham, signed Haloti Ngata and completed a trade for Michael Bennett. The club was also forced to part ways with Vinny Curry, Patrick Robinson and Trey Burton, among others – but that’s not bad considering Jason Peters, Rodney McLeod and Foles were all rumored to be on the chopping block. And Roseman isn’t necessarily finished. Brandon Graham is in line for a massive new contract, and Darren Sproles could return as well.
The cap situation wasn’t thought to be as dire in 2017, yet Roseman came away from last offseason looking like a magician anyway. The combination of the Foles, Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount, Chance Warmack, Chris Long and Tim Jernigan signings were almost unfathomable at the time. By season’s end, Jeffery, Warmack and Jernigan were all extended, while the Eagles had also added Ronald Darby and Jay Ajayi in trades.
How does Roseman do it?
Some of it is right in front of our eyes. Roseman extended All-Pro players such as Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz before they really took off. He’s constantly tinkering with contracts to make them more cap friendly, like he did with Brooks, or Ertz earlier this offseason. He deals the Eagles’ high salaries or players on the verge of receiving new deals for draft picks or lower-priced talent under contract.
Other times, Roseman can save more money from the trade or release than the cap-dedicated web sites indicate. He structured most of these contracts, he knows the intricacies of the terms, and he put the Eagles’ escape clause in there himself.
Not only do I rarely scrutinize the Eagles’ cap situation anymore. I’ve barely looked at it this offseason.
Howie’s got this. And the moment I challenge the Eagles with concerns they can’t possibly pursue a high-profile player, or another big contract will threaten to put the club in cap hell, Howie will pull it off comfortably – then he’ll go about creating room to breathe.
Maybe this will come back to haunt the Eagles in future years, when all the kicking the can down the road for contract restructures and lack of cap carryover from spending to the limit really starts to catch up. Then again, something tells me Roseman has this covered, and as long as he’s in charge of the books, my days of obsessively tracking player salaries are over.