March 05, 2019
In less than a week, the NFL's legal tampering period, in which it becomes legal for teams to start negotiating with free agents, will officially begin. And Howie Roseman and the Eagles appear to be getting themselves ready.
Over the course of the last week or so, the Eagles have made several moves that, while on the surface, appear to be about them taking care of their own players, but may have just as well been about putting them in the most cap-friendly situation possible ahead of the new league year opening.
The Eagles and Nick Foles decided to go their separate ways, saving the Eagles over $20 million. They re-signed Brandon Graham to a deal that was slightly below what his market value likely would've been. They also signed Jason Kelce and Isaac Seumalo to extensions. And on Monday, news came down that the team wouldn't be exercising their $13 million option on Timmy Jernigan, which will free up about $7 million in cap space (and cost about $6 million in dead money) and more than cover the difference between what Kelce is reported to make this year and what he was slated to earn under his previous contract.
Now, it appears, another offensive lineman has reworked his deal in order to help Roseman and Co. create some more space to potentially sign a big free agent — or to possibly take care of another one of the players already on the roster. Like, for example, quarterback Carson Wentz, who has one more year left on his rookie contract.
#Eagles, continuing their busy off-season, have restructured Lane Johnson's contract for cap purposes, source said.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 5, 2019
It's still unknown how much Johnson saved them by restructuring his contract — not to mention those other moves, including declining Jernigan's option, but according to overthecap.com, the Eagles have over $16 million in cap space.
There are potentially more moves to be made as well. Guys like Jason Peters and Chris Long could retire — or restructure — and potentially save the Eagles millions ($13 million and $5.6 million, respectively). Michael Bennett could be on the trade block despite a productive season in 2018 for the Eagles, and getting him off the books, whether by trading him or releasing him, would save the Eagles $7 million with no dead money. There's also Nelson Agholor, who is costing the Birds $9.38 million next season, but also carries no dead money if moved.
What could the Eagles be loading up for with all these recent moves? Depending how much they save, they could certainly go after a guy like Le'Veon Bell, who has already been linked to the Birds, or they could continue investing in their own. As we mentioned, Wentz is entering a contract year, and taking care of your franchise quarterback seems like it should be top priority.
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