“Take a pay cut or we will have to trade or release you.”
“Pay cut? I want a raise!”
And so the one-year rental of DE Michael Bennett by the Eagles probably ends.
Personally EYE will miss his big plays, but not those tiny little shoulder pads! (I know, the pads are designed to make him more slippery and elusive, but they still look creepy to me!)
He finished second on the Eagles in sacks last year with nine. Bennett also ranked 21st out of 109 edge defenders in PFF’s pressure rate. He had the second most quarterback hits in the NFL.
The Eagles can save $7.2 million in cap space by cutting or trading Bennett. Complicating the issue, the Eagles would not be eligible to receive a compensatory pick if they cut him.
In Bennett’s mind, he is 33 years old and deserves to be paid commensurate with his production on the field in 2018. He reckons he is worth at least one more guaranteed money season closer to the top pay scale for elite pass rushers, which I’m guessing he has figured at between $10 and $12 million.
He makes a logical argument, but it may become moot if Derek Barnett makes a full recovery after getting hurt last season.
A few more areas of defensive concern here other than Bennett’s future:
Eagles DT Fletcher Cox had surgery on his right foot following the season and is in the midst of recovery. An image of him in a walking boot riding a scooter emerged on social media over the past week. He’s already off the scooter. The expectation is he should be fine for training camp. Cox injured the foot in the Eagles’ divisional-round playoff loss to the Saints.
Then there’s a lot of speculation about the Eagles’ wanting to sign veteran safety Eric Weddle, who was released by the Ravens this week. Weddle just turned 34. He still plays a heady game and helps his guys get in good position pre-snap, but in just the past two seasons he appears to have lost a half-step in coverage and seems to get physically overmatched in a lot of tackling attempts.
Weddle wanted to stay with the Ravens for $7 million— they said no thanks, they need to get younger and faster in their defensive backfield.
EYE would vote NO to Weddle’s joining the Eagles, even though he is a high-character guy with a lot of Pro Bowl accolades during his career. It’s a sad fact of NFL life, but sometimes a good player’s physical skill set falls off a cliff around the age of 32-34. Having watched all of Weddle’s games the past two seasons, I’d have to say his above-average days of playing safety in the NFL are long past. Of course, I once wrote the same thing about Patrick Chung, and a guy named Belichick made me look like a fool for my analytic effort.