Eagles Wake Up Call: Cap Considerations

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

We have been getting a lot of questions about the Eagles’ salary cap situation, so we called on cap expert and friend of the blog Joel Corry for insight.

There has been a noticeable shift in approach now that Chip Kelly is fully in charge of the offseason moves, and that applies to the money side of things as well, says Corry.

“When Joe Banner and Howie Roseman were running the cap, the Eagles were very disciplined financially and managed the cap better than practically anyone else in the league,” he said. “Now with Chip running the show, it seems like a different approach where there isn’t much regard to doing things in the most fiscally responsible manner.

“[Roseman and Jake Rosenburg] don’t have the latitude to do things like they did in the past. This kind of goes under the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ from the cap perspective. The cap approach wasn’t broken. What those guys were doing – starting with Joe and continuing to Howie and Jake – they were doing an excellent job of managing the cap. This approach is a little bit different.”

According to Corry’s calculations, the Eagles have $7.75 million in remaining cap room. (That is very close to Over The Cap‘s $7.6 million figure, which puts the Eagles sixth from the bottom in the NFL.)

Sam Bradford ($12.895 million) has the largest cap number on the team by almost $4 million. Andrew Brandt reports that the Eagles are trying to rework/extend Bradford’s contract, which would increase the team’s overall financial flexibility. Corry, though, is skeptical about a deal getting done.

“There’s no incentive for Bradford to do anything,” he said. “Any extension that you offer him wouldn’t be worth his while most likely because he’s in a buy-low position right now; coming off two injury-plagued years, what type of deal would he get? It will be a no-brainer for him to turn it down.”

If that’s true, where will the financial relief come from? Corry believes that DeMeco Ryans‘ situation ($6.9 million cap hit) “screams for a pay cut or release,” and reasoned that some of that money can be used to re-up Mychal Kendricks or Fletcher Cox. Kelly told reporters last week that Ryans is staying put, though, and at last check there was no movement on the Cox-Kendricks extension front.

“The thing I’m not sure of is whether the philosophy that Joe Banner put in place of identifying key young players and locking them up early is still the philosophy anymore with Chip. Because with Howie continuing the same philosophy that Joe instituted, you would have seen them making some kind of push to sign a Fletcher Cox or Mychael Kendricks,” said Corry. “We’ll see if that philosophy still exists.”

There is a little more urgency to get something done with Kendricks, who is scheduled to become a free agent after the season. The situation with Cox is different, as Corry points out. Because Cox is a first-round pick, the Eagles have a fifth-year option on him. They have until May 3 of this year to exercise it. If they do — and there’s really no reason not to — it will keep him under contract through 2016 at a cost of $6 million. They have time to get a long-term deal done, though the price will probably go up the longer they wait.

As for the current cap situation: there is still this year’s draft  class to account for and a few holes yet to plug. That’ll eat into the available $7-plus million. If everything stays pretty much the same, the Eagles will be tighter to the salary cap ceiling than they’re accustomed to.

“This approach is a little bit different,” said Corry. “If the team wins then nobody is really going to care for the most part. But if it doesn’t result in a better product on the field, that will be another area that comes under scrutiny.”


The Eagles worked out Tim Tebow on Monday.

Sheil and I go back-and-forth on the LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell moves.

A look at Chip’s free agent philosophy.

Kelly apparently has sought out the opinion of Jimmy Johnson.


Zach Berman of the Inquirer reports that former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski is a fan of Bradford:

Most evaluations of the Eagles’ new quarterback come with a two-word caveat that seems attached to Sam Bradford’s name: if healthy. The qualifier shows both the risk the Eagles absorbed in Tuesday’s trade and the potential reward that could come their way.

“When I put the question mark on him, that’s it,” said former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, an ESPN analyst. “I don’t question his talent, his ability, his cerebral ability to lead a football team and run an offense. But he’s got to stay healthy.”

The Eagles acquired Bradford and a 2015 fifth-round pick for quarterback Nick Foles, a 2016 second-round pick, and a 2015 fourth-round pick. The premium price demonstrated the Eagles’ doggedness to acquire Bradford and perhaps an aggressive market for his services.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com is a believer in Kelly’s moves on offense, in part because of the Bradford addition:

 Bradford is a talented passer with outstanding anticipation, awareness and instincts within the pocket. The former No. 1 overall pick throws the ball in rhythm at the top of his drops and routinely leads receivers into open areas with his throws. Injuries forced Bradford to miss 31 games over the past five seasons, including much of 2013 and all of 2014. But the addition of an accurate, pinpoint passer could help Philly’s passing game soar behind an “inside-out” approach. After all, Bradford did win the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year award while working with current Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in St. Louis, thriving in a “dink-and-dunk” attack constructed on West Coast offensive principles. If healthy, Bradford should return to All-Star levels.

Considering the Eagles’ recent personnel moves, I believe the team is building a passing game around tight ends, running backs and slot receivers. Of course, the focal point could change with the signing of a marquee free-agent pass catcher or the addition of a dynamic young receiver in the draft. Nevertheless, Philly has assembled a collection of playmakers between the hashes that should help the oft-injured passer drive opposing defensive coordinators nuts.


We’ll analyze the rest of Kelly’s moves to date and get you caught up on the latest draft buzz.