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What Are The Philadelphia Eagles Options For Creating Cap Space?

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NFL

Recap

The 2017 Philadelphia Eagles offseason got off to a very strong start. I don’t know if you have heard, but they made a splash and signed some wide receiver name Alshon Jeffery. They signed a second wide receiver in Torrey Smith, and a possible starting guard, Chance Warmack. After all this, the Philadelphia Eagles cap space decreased from $13 million, to just $3 million.

They also brought back a couple of their own in Stefen Wisniewski and Najee Goode.  With needs at corner, running back, and defensive front depth, they may have to make some unpopular financial decisions.

Ryan Mathews

This move would be a popular one coming from the Eagles fan base. Mathews is an above average back, but is notoriously oft-injured. He posted an above average 4.2 yards per carry for 661 yards, and 8 rushing touchdowns in 13 games. Shedding Ryan Mathews contract seems inevitable to me. The Eagles save $4 million by releasing Mathews, while only eating 1 million in dead cap. Once it is determined that Ryan Mathews is healthy enough from his season ending neck injury, he will most likely be released from the team.

Mychal Kendricks

Kendricks, 26, played in less than 30 percent of the Philadelphia Eagles snaps in 2016. He notched just 26 tackles and had zero sacks. It does not appear that he fits Jim Schwartz’s defense and may be better suited for a 3-4 team. Kendricks in a 3-4 defense was known as a pass-rushing middle linebacker.

In his final season with Chip Kelly, Kendricks accumulated 61 tackles, 3 sacks, and a forced fumble. It has been reported widely that the Eagles are looking to trade Kendricks. By releasing or trading Kendricks, the Eagles would have to eat $4.8 million, while only saving $1.8 million, not the best savings.

This Kendricks contract, which was only constructed after Chip Kelly failed to trade Kendricks during his time here, is awful on the books. There is one option though, cutting Kendricks with a post-June first designation. The Post June 1st release will save the Eagles 5 million after June first, while only costing the Eagles 1.6 million over the next two seasons. This is the best option to shed a bad contract for a player whom does not fit your system.

Darren Sproles

I know. I know. Darren Sproles has already announced this will be his final NFL season. He has been an electrifying player throughout his career. However, given the cap situation the Eagles are currently in, I would not be the least bit surprised to see them let the veteran try to win a Super Bowl elsewhere. Releasing Sproles would save the Eagles $4 million in cap space with no dead cap. This move would be more devastating to the fan base than the release Connor Barwin several days ago. I would hate to see Sproles leave, but the cap savings in intriguing for the soon-to-be 34 year old halfback.

Jason Kelce

Kelce, 29, is coming off a season in which he was a Pro Bowl alternate. After a rough start to 2016, Kelce was able to put together a solid season. Kelce’s cap number for 2017 is $6.2 million. Releasing Kelce comes with a dead cap of 2.4 million with a cap savings of 3.8 million. Like Kendricks, Kelce can be released with a post-June 1st designation, with a dead cap of 1.2 million this year, while saving 5 million. If the starting center is moved, I believe it will be via trade.

Jason Peters

The 35 year old is coming off a bounce-back year in which he remained healthy and productive the entire season. He had three games where he did not allow a pressure on Carson Wentz, and was rated the 7th best offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus.

Earlier in the offseason, it was reported that the Eagles asked Peters to re-structure. When he declined, it was reported that he would not be going anywhere. With the addition of Chance Warmack, re-signing Stefen Wisniewski, and not being able to move Allen Barbre via trade, Peters becomes more expendable.

Peters has a dead cap of 2 million but releasing him would save the team $9.7 million.

I do not want to release Peters, as I believe letting go of future Hall of Fame type players is the wrong move. See Dawkins, Brian. I also do not believe the team will let go of Peters, but if they did, they could afford Bennie Logan and at the very least, a capable corner back.

Brent Celek

Another fan favorite, Celek is now 32 years old and his production continues to decline, while he is continues to receive a very nice paycheck. Last season, Celek hauled in 14 passes for a total of 155 yards. Celek is used primarily as an extra lineman or a blocking tight end. That is what he is at this point in his career.

Celek has a cap of $5 million for 2017. Releasing him costs the team $4 million in dead cap, while saving only $1 million. Like Kendricks and Kelce, Celek can be released post-June 1st, saving the team 4 million, while having a dead cap of 1 million.

In my opinion, it is time to let the veteran go. Zach Ertz and the recently tendered Trey Burton are already on the books for around $8 million. The draft class for the tight end is extremely deep this year and this team needs money.

Just as we did for Connor Barwin, at Celek’s current cap number, I would thank him for his service in Philadelphia, and see if he can get one last chance at a championship elsewhere.

Jordan Matthews

This is not a release scenario, this is a trade scenario. Jordan Matthews no longer fits this team in my opinion. He was brought here by Chip Kelly and he thrived in his system. Back to back seasons of 800 plus yards and 8 touchdowns. Matthews hit the 800 yard mark again this season, due to being heavily targeted in Pederson’s scheme. Matthews also had games of 3 catches for 10 yards vs the Vikings, 6 catches for 26 yards vs the Ravens, and 11 catches for 64 yards vs the Cowboys. The last being the absolute worst production in NFL history for a 10+ catch game.

Matthews just is not the prototypical west coast offense slot receiver. He is also an impending free agent in 2018. With Alshon Jeffery now in the fold, also being a 2018 free agent, I see zero chance the Eagles are bringing back both. It is not even a question which of the two will help this franchise on get better. I would not be surprised in the least bit if Jordan Matthews is moved prior to the NFL Draft.

Dorial Green-Beckham

DGB was acquired prior to the 2016 season in exchange for depth lineman, Dennis Kelly. He finished the season with 36 catches, 392 yards, and two touchdowns. His yards per catch went from 17 yards per catch in 2015, to not even 11 in 2016. However, DGB is only 23 and would only save just under a million dollars to release. By comparison, Plaxico Burress was the same type of receiver as DGB and in his first year with the Steelers, he brought in 22 passes for just 270 yards.

Beckham is under contract for the next two years. I would give him at least until final roster cuts in August to prove himself to the Eagles. It is also worth noting that Howie Roseman in his interview yesterday, stated that Alshon Jeffery is here to mentor the young receiving corps, and specifically named DGB.

Chase Daniel

The Eagles backup quarterback originally came to Philadelphia to compete with then starter, Sam Bradford. My how things have drastically changed in a year! Daniel has an unfavorable contract. He will not be released due to a $7 million dead cap. However, if the Eagles are able to find a trade partner, its not unfathomable. The Bears just paid Mike Glennon $14 million a year. Trading Daniel would save $6 million while having a dead cap of $2 million.

Who do you believe the Eagles could move on from? What do you think the best moves are going forward? I want to know what my fellow Bird fans think. Follow me on twitter @Nelson81 and lets have a discussion!

 

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