The Philadelphia Eagles are still riding high from their Super Bowl LII triumph. Despite losing both their starting left tackle and quarterback they were able to wrap up the #1 seed in the NFC and claim three big playoff wins to take the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy.
They were able to be so devastatingly good thanks to a well-constructed and incredibly deep roster put together by general manager Howie Roseman and an internal belief not only in the playcalling of head coach Doug Pederson but also themselves. Unfortunately, that magical formula will have to be broken up.
At the time of writing the NFL’s champion team are $4.8 million OVER the 2018 salary cap. They have to make cuts, and the cuts will almost certainly be deep. Who may be looking for a new home ahead of the 2018 season?
Torrey Smith, WR – save $5 million
The Eagles have a $5 million club option for Smith this season, and while he was a useful field-stretcher for the team in 2017, his return of 36 catches for 430 yards and two touchdowns was not exactly ideal.
Having made a big investment in Alshon Jeffery and being over the cap already one suspects that they will have to decline Smith’s option. They have until March 14 to exercise it or not.
Jason Peters, OT – save $5.3 million
Peters is almost certainly going to the Hall of Fame. He has been a truly exceptional left tackle in the NFL, but is now 36 years old, and after getting hurt part-way through the season it seems the Eagles are able to cope without him.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai was wonderful during his time at left tackle for the Eagles this season, and will count as just $686k against the cap in 2018. Whether he can be as good as Peters going forward is questionable, but if he is 85% of a Hall of Famer this is a move that the Eagles need to make in order to clean up their cap.
Brent Celek, TE – save $4 million
Celek has spent 11 seasons with the Eagles since they drafted him in the 5th round in 2007, but his roll with the team has been diminishing greatly since Zach Ertz arrived on the scene. Over the last two years he has played just 39.8% of snaps and caught only 27 passes for 185 yards and one score.
Production and use like that does not warrant a $5 million salary, and so the Eagles should either renegotiate or move on from the veteran tight end.
Chris Long, DE – save $1.9 million
It’s not much of a saving, but when you start over the cap you have to save every nickel you can.
Long was a useful piece of the defense, not just with his five sacks and 18 QB hits but his presence allowed for the likes of Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham to be given some rest during games and keep their legs for big moments. However, depth costs, as the Eagles are finding now. I’m sure they would love to keep Long, but with the cap the way it is that is probably not a responsible thing to do.
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