There are plenty of financial-related questions surrounding the Eagles right now. What kind of market will they be up against when it comes to free-agent receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper? Which players are most likely to be cap casualties? Will any veterans be asked to take a pay cut? For answers, we called on former agent/salary cap expert Joel Corry to make sense of it all.
With some $20 million of cap room, the Eagles are in decent shape overall. But if they do act, Corry believes the following three players are most at risk of being cut:
Patrick Chung ($3.25 million base, $1 million guaranteed): “The first one that sticks out for me is Patrick Chung in terms of a guy that could be a cap casualty. [The contract’s] got offset [language] so they’ll be able to recoup some money if they release him. I’m assuming he’ll sign someplace for the league minimum if not for that full million.”
James Casey: ($3.985 base, $2 million guaranteed): “I know that some people are saying that [Brent] Celek could be a cap casualty, but Casey fits that description more for me considering Zach Ertz kind of took the role he was probably supposed to have when they signed him. He’s got a cap number of slightly under $4 million and he has a $2 million guarantee. You really don’t want to eat guarantees but they can pick up almost $2 million in room from him if they had to. But they’re really in position cap-wise where they really don’t have to go the route of cap casualties.”
Jason Avant ($2.25 million base plus $1 million roster bonus): “Another one I can potentially see depending on what happens with the receivers, but they don’t have much leeway [in terms of time] because of the roster bonus due on the fifth day [of the league year.] You’re not going to pay him the roster bonus and then cut him.”
There has been plenty of speculation about which players on the roster might be asked to take a pay cut. Here’s how Corry sees it:
Jason Peters ($9.65 million base): “It’s hard to find a left tackle. They don’t have any pressing need to do anything with his cap number so I think you leave it alone.”
Todd Herremans ($3 million base): “You can probably leave him alone this year. I wouldn’t mess with the line, and maybe you can draft his replacement.”
DeMeco Ryans ($6.8 million base): “I think he justified it this year. He played well for the most part. I don’t think you do anything with him.”
Trent Cole ($5.5 million base): “I don’t think he’s really a 3-4 ‘backer. He’s better suited for a 4-3. His cap number is $6.6 (million) this year. It jumps to about $11 million next year. I think next year is the pivotal year. He better have a very good season this year.
“For pass rushers, if you’re supposed to be a 10-sack guy, you’re going to be paid more so than most positions because pass-rushers are paid a premium. I think he’s fine [this year]. It’s just next year when that cap number soars that’s the issue. He better have one of the best years of his career to justify the cap number in 2015. That being said, I think that’s a priority for them in the draft, to go out and get an edge rusher in a 3-4. And since Chip has an affinity for Pac 10 guys, I’m just throwing a name out: Trent Murphy. [Kapadia wrote about Murphy on Wednesday.]
Now for the receiver situation. Corry doesn’t expect Maclin to receive any lucrative long-term contract offers.
“Wherever he goes, I think he’s a prime candidate for the one-year prove-it contract. He’s not going to get his best deal coming off a torn ACL. If I represented him, I’d want to get him in a situation where he gets a lot of playing time, he re-establishes his health and shows that his skills haven’t diminished. He’s young enough where it is not going to materially impact him in 2015 — he gets a market value deal.”
Corry thinks a year in Kelly’s system is a sound option for Maclin, but sees one other team in particular being players for his services.
“I can make a case for one place more than any other — Kansas City,” said Corry. “He knows the offense. They need playmakers there so I could see Kansas City being a chief rival.”
As for Cooper? “I don’t think Riley is going to have huge value to everyone else,” he said. “I think Riley’s best deal may be staying put.”