We’re at the point where the joyful numbness of winning that elusive Super Bowl trophy is beginning to wear off—just a little!
Most Eagles reporters and bloggers are scrambling for topics right now. There are still the feel-good stories to cover, like players getting interviewed on celebrity talk shows and such. Other topics include the upcoming Draft and what will Howie do to find us a pick or two in rounds 2 and 3, in which we currently have zilch. Then there are the “Stay or Go?” stories which center on keeping guys who are free agents, or releasing/trading guys whose current cap numbers may not make financial sense anymore.
Some relevant good news—according to Jeff Kerr of 247 Sports, the Eagles’ salary cap is about to get an artificial boost:
“The Philadelphia Eagles are currently over the salary cap and will have some decisions to make in the coming weeks, but the NFL will be giving them some extra wiggle room. According to Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro, the NFL is expected to increase the salary cap from $167 million to $174-178 million once the 2018 league year starts.
“How does a move like this affect the Eagles? Philadelphia will still be over the cap, but not in as deep as it would have been if the 2017 cap number remained the same. According to Spotrac.com, the Eagles are currently $6,137,656 over the salary cap. They have to get under the salary cap floor by the time free agency begins on March 14.”
“Philadelphia will have to make moves to get under the cap threshold with Torrey Smith ($5 million in cap space) and Vinny Curry ($5 million in cap space) the prime candidates to be released in the coming weeks. More moves will be coming, including the Eagles decision with Brent Celek ($4 million). ”
“If the Eagles were to cut the contracts on those three players, they would be $8 million under the cap heading into free agency…but will have to make moves on other players in order to re-sign Nigel Bradham or sign other free agents.
“Changes will be coming to the Eagles roster thanks to the salary cap situation. Expect the Eagles to make moves as early as this week, with the front office and coaching staff back at the NovaCare Complex after a week off. ”
The extra $7 million (or maybe more) in cap room coming from the NFL certainly helps if your idea is to keep the band together for another tour in 2018. But it doesn’t remove the biggest questions still facing the Eagles regarding some key positions.
Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice breaks down a few of the situations where if you decide to pay one guy, then another guy has got to go. Here are some links to some suggested reading on this subject:
February 19, 2018: Howie’s choice: Do the Eagles keep Nigel Bradham or Mychal Kendricks?
Over the upcoming Philadelphia Eagles offseason, there are going to be many pointless debates centered around Carson Wentz vs. Nick Foles. There really is no debate, to be clear. The Eagles’ starting quarterback is Wentz.
February 18, 2018: Eagles stay or go: Inside linebacker
Now that the Philadelphia Eagles’ offseason is (finally) underway, let’s take a look at each position and figure out which players will be back in 2018, and which ones will be playing elsewhere. Here we’ll look at inside linebacker.
February 16, 2018: Brandon Graham wants a new contract, and the Eagles should give him one
Over the last three seasons, one of the biggest bargains on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster has been Brandon Graham, who has significantly outplayed a four-year, $26 million deal he signed during the 2015 offseason.
Those links will bring you up to speed on most of the toughest decisions facing the Eagles front office going forward. Jimmy’s articles are also chock full of performance charts so you can analyze production-to-dollars efficiency, if you’re into that kind of thing.
The one thing I keep coming back to is the unique blending of talent we witnessed in 2017, as the Eagles mixed and matched so many key players, most of them in very different stages of their careers and earnings histories, to get a winning team mindset on the field. The fluidity of roles on the field never seemed to be interrupted by locker room infighting or jealousy. Guys just kept stepping up big-time when their number was called. For example, Malcolm Jenkins played more snaps as a pseudo-linebacker and slot cornerback than he did as a true safety. That’s the kind of “whatever it takes” mentality which was so admirable and exciting to me as a fan. It seemed to apply to every guy in every position group, whether an undrafted rookie, a veteran making the league minimum salary, or a big-name big-money contract guy.
So as much as I realize there will be necessary changes in the roster makeup of the team due to financial considerations, I intuitively fear the possible loss of the “one-for all” cohesiveness of the Eagles which made 2017 (and the playoffs/Super Bowl) so special.
Maybe that’s where great coaching (and scouting and GM-ing) comes in, to preserve a winning and all-inclusive team mindset. I just know it takes more than shrewd spending of dollars to maintain a championship team. Be careful with the spirit of this team. It took us a lot further than the sum of the physical parts.