Eagles Wake-Up Call: Will Maclin Get Tagged?
Today’s question comes from reader Andy via email:
We haven’t seen the Eagles use the tag in the past too much. As the deadline approaches, any chance it gets used this year?
I think it has to be under consideration, Andy.
Teams have until 4 p.m. on March 2 to designate franchise or transition players. That means the Eagles have five days to hammer out a new deal with Jeremy Maclin before the franchise window closes. If they can’t come to an agreement, they have a pretty big decision to make.
Up until recently, there was a general calmness surrounding the Maclin contract situation. The former first-round pick has stated and restated his desire to remain in Philadelphia, expressing confidence along the way that a deal will get worked out. The only real wake in the water was when Maclin changed agents from Ben Dogra to Tom Condon back in November. That move, according to Adam Caplan, was no small matter when it comes to these negotiations.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) February 24, 2015
While the delay might be fraying some nerves, it shouldn’t necessarily be looked at as a sign of his imminent departure. From Maclin’s perspective, it makes perfect sense to be patient. For one, it allows Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant to potentially set the market. And with leverage to spare, why not wait and see what the Eagles’ best offer is before the opening of business on March 10? If it’s not satisfactory, he can test the free-agent waters — unless, of course, the Eagles tag him. If they do, it will cost $12.8 million. Players typically don’t like getting franchised, but there are worse fates than making $13 million in a single season.
Interesting that Caplan mentions the franchise number being too high. I’m sure the front office would like to avoid spending that much money (and all those cap dollars) on one player in one year, but using the tag would be the safe play. If they can’t get something done over the next few days, tag him to keep him away from the rest of the league while continuing to work on a long-term deal.
In this case, the use of the tag seems worthwhile if nothing gets done between now and Monday.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Has Chip Kelly built up his culture enough to take a chance on a player with character questions? Sheil explores.
“The talk in Indy was that the Jets and Eagles would be the two teams fighting for [Byron Maxwell].” Eagles buzz from around the league.
Kapadia with five takeaways from the combine.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jeff McLane examines the state of the offensive line.
There isn’t a single free agent offensive lineman on the roster. Of the starters, Herremans is the least secure. If the Eagles were to make an unexpected splash on a guard in free agency or expend a high draft pick on a lineman, he could be jettisoned or asked to restructure his contract (his 2015 cap number is $5.2 million). But signs point to the longest-tenured Eagle returning for an 11th season.
Mathis wanted a new contract last year, didn’t get one, but still showed up for training camp and performed at a high level. He likely still wants more money, but it’s difficult to see the Eagles giving the soon-to-be 34-year-old more than his base salary ($5.5 million). He just doesn’t have much leverage unless he plans on holding out. Could the Eagles try and deal Mathis in an attempt to get younger and cheaper inside? It is unlikely, but they will certainly look for long-term answers.
Geoff Mosher on some buzz from Indy:
No extension talks have taken place yet between the Eagles and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who’s one of several Eagles draft picks with three years accrued and therefore eligible for an extension of their rookie deal. It is believed talks will take place soon. … The Eagles and outside linebacker Trent Cole will meet within the next week to discuss a contract restructure that will keep Cole in house. … No surprise here, but the Eagles have no plans to try slot corner Brandon Boykin on the outside as a starter. … Nolan Carroll, who played well in the dime linebacker role last year, would move to safety if the team approaches him about it. He just wants more opportunities to play.
Less than two weeks from the beginning of free agency. Things are going to start picking up.