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June 01, 2018

Eagles will have some extra salary cap space to play with, effective June 2

As of Friday morning, the Philadelphia Eagles had the lowest amount of salary cap space in the NFL, with a measly $94,224 available to spend, according to the NFLPA's daily cap report. That number will jump to $6,094,224 on Saturday, due to the release of linebacker Mychal Kendricks.

The Eagles will gain $6 million for Kendricks now instead of when they released him a couple weeks ago because they designated him as a June 1st cut. In terms of the salary cap, the NFL makes a distinction between player moves (cuts or trades) that happen before June 1, and after it. 

We'll use a concise explanation from on the difference:

When a player is removed from a players roster prior to June 1st all his remaining unamortized bonus money immediately accelerates onto the salary cap (for the current year).

After June 1 the NFL changes the way the acceleration works.  After June 1st only the current years expense remains on the books after the player is released. The balance accelerates onto the following years salary cap.

To put that in terms you can relate to, we'll use the trade of Sam Bradford in 2016 as an example. When the Eagles traded Bradford in 2016, they did so on September 3, which, of course, is after June 1. Included in the deal he signed in March of 2016 was an $11 million signing bonus. Had they traded Bradford before June 1, the entirety of that $11 million bonus would have counted toward the Eagles' salary cap in 2016. Because they traded him after June 1, only $5.5 million counted toward their cap in 2016, with the other $5.5 million counting toward their cap in 2017.

In the case of Kendricks, while the Eagles released him prior to June 1, each team can designate one player cut prior to June 1 as a "June 1 release." They just don't see the savings until June 2. Had they opted not to use that designation, they would have saved $4.4 million in 2018. With a June 1st release, they'll save $6 million in 2018, but $1.6 million in dead money will count toward the Eagles' cap in 2019. In other words, it's still only a savings of $4.4 million overall, but they get a little extra immediate relief, while putting off the $1.6 million hit until the following year

Got it? Yes? No? Well, anyway, moving past the nerd stuff and onto the fun stuff, what will the Eagles do with their newfound money?

For months we have been suggesting that the Eagles were likely to bring safety Corey Graham back into the fold. A couple weeks ago, Doug Pederson said that he wants Graham to return to the team. On Tuesday of this past week, Jim Schwartz spoke about Graham's ability to be a versatile player in his defense.

"The three key guys were Malcolm Jenkins, Nigel Bradham, and then Corey Graham," said Schwartz. "I think all of them were able to play a lot of different positions for us and get us over the hump when it came to injuries. You're going to have injuries. You've got to be able to deal with them. We were fortunate enough to have multi-dimensional players that were able to keep our level of play high even though we had those injuries."

The other position to watch is defensive tackle. It was reported a couple weeks ago by Geoff Mosher (and I can confirm) that the Eagles had worked out DT Cedric Thornton.

The Eagles likely worked out multiple defensive tackles in addition to Thornton, however, with only $94,224 in cap space, they weren't going to be able to fit anyone in under the cap.

Stay tuned for some minor roster moves over the next few days.

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