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April 26, 2017

Five current Eagles players whose futures could be affected by the 2017 NFL Draft

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It's not just the Philadelphia Eagles' fan base that will have interest in the 2017 NFL Draft. A number of Eagles themselves will be playing close attention, as the selections that Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas make could affect their careers. Here are the five Eagles who could be most affected by the moves the Eagles make this weekend.

Vinny Curry, DE

During the 2016 offseason, Curry signed a five-year, $46.25 million contract. In the first year of his new deal, Curry had a disappointing season, posting just 26 tackles and 2.5 sacks while playing only 42.6 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps. 


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"Vinny's been working hard," said Brandon Graham to reporters last week. "I can tell just by his body already he's looking real lean. He's looking ready. His mindset is a lot different than last year. He's going into it with a positive attitude. I think for him, he's going to make that leap that we've all been waiting for and that he's been waiting for."

Curry's cap numbers over the remainder of his deal, via OverTheCap.com:

 YearVinny Curry cap number 
 2017$9,000,000 
 2018$11,000,000 
 2019$11,250,000 
 2020$12,000,000 


Next offseason, if the Eagles decided to move on from Curry and get out of that deal, they would save $5 million in cap space, with $6 million in dead money.

Curry will turn 29 in June. There's no more wiggle room for upside or potential. For Curry to have any chance of sticking with the team beyond the 2017 season, his production must increase drastically. The Eagles already added Chris Long this offseason late in free agency. It will be difficult for Curry to produce if the Eagles spend a first-round pick on an edge rusher, which could limit Curry's snaps even further.

Marcus Smith, DE

On Tuesday, former agent and current contributor to CBS Sports Joel Corry took a look at all the 2014 first-round draft picks to determine which teams were likely to exercise their fifth-year options. Here's what he wrote about Smith:

It's a surprise the Eagles haven't cut Smith since he's been a big disappointment (four sacks in 37 career games). $1,483,515 of salary cap room will be gained by releasing Smith before his $594,000 second day of training camp roster bonus is due in late July. 

Smith has obviously been a bust. If the Eagles add another edge rusher, whether that be in the first round or the fifth round or some dude off the street, the numbers game alone could make it worth the Eagles' while to save that (roughly) $1.5 million.

Nigel Bradham, LB

The chances of Mychal Kendricks sticking with the team in 2017 are slim to none, so we'll just skip him. However, Bradham's role with the team could also be in jeopardy if the Eagles draft a linebacker high in the draft. 

A season ago, Bradham played 97.1 percent of the snaps, and had a good season. Unfortunately, all anyone remembers from Bradham's first year with the Eagles were his two "dumbass" arrests. Bradham is still only 27-years old and heading into the final year of his contract. He would love to put together a season on the field in 2017 like he did in 2016, so he can maximize his earnings next offseason.

Should the Eagles draft a linebacker high, which is not expected, Bradham could lose some snaps.

Brent Celek, TE

A couple weeks ago, it was reported that Celek took a pay cut, essentially for the second consecutive season.

Celek is easily still the best blocking tight end on the roster, although at the age of 32 he isn't quite what he once was in that regard. In recent years, Celek's receiving numbers have fallen off dramatically. In 2016, Celek averaged less than one catch per game and he did not score a touchdown for the first time in his career.

Brent CelekRecYdsY/RTD
20071617811.11
20082731811.81
20097697112.88
20104251112.24
20116281113.15
201257684121
20133250215.76
20143234010.61
20152739814.73
20161415511.10

Celek is scheduled to count for $5 million against the cap in 2018. While he has had a long, productive career in Philadelphia, there's no way he will stick on the roster at that time at that number.

This draft is considered to be loaded at the tight end position. If the Eagles were to grab one, that would give them four for their likely 2017 roster.

Jordan Matthews, WR

Regardless of what the Eagles do in the draft, I believe that trading Matthews would make a lot of sense, as we noted in depth at the beginning of March

Matthews has good numbers over the first three seasons of his career, but in a way, those numbers almost kind of work against the possibility of him staying an Eagle past 2017 because he's going to expect more money than what he's worth. I would be surprised if the Eagles retain him in 2018 and beyond. If you can get something for him now, like, say, a third-round pick, it might be wise to take it before you lose him for nothing next offseason.

Should the Eagles draft a receiver reasonably high, that would give the Eagles all the more incentive to try to move him.


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