As it stands, the Eagles have just over $7 million free to spend when free agency begins in March.
If they want to run at a big wide receiver like Alshon Jeffery (worth an expected $14 million per year or so), while also filling out other needs (offensive line, running back, secondary)they’ll need to make a few moves.
They have already cut cornerback Leodis McKelvin, saving $3.2 million against the cap. Here are five other financially smart moves they can make.
1. Restructure Jason Peters’ contract
Peters is a future hall of famer and the anchor of the Eagles’ offensive line. But the left tackle is 35-years-old and making $11.2 million in 2017, the most of any Philly player. Cutting him would only count as a $2 million cap hit, but even as he declines there is no way they’d cut him loose.
It might not be in Peters’ best interest to restructure, he’ll make over $10 million in 2018 before becoming a free agent, but perhaps, if the Eagles scare him by threatening to cut him loose or add another year to his deal, they can get him to help themsave some money.
2. Cut Connor Barwin
Barwin is a fan favorite and was a sack machine for Philly in recent seasons, but the 30-year-old has an extremely team friendly contract, with just $600,000 in dead cap money if he is cut and over $7 million in potential savings. The Eagles are set with their pass rush, with Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry locked up long term. Barwin is, sadly, expendable.
3. Trade Mychal Kendricks
Kendricks has fallen out of favor in Philly, having played just 27 percent of snaps in 2017. He doesn’t seem to have a place in Jim Schwartz’ defensive scheme but is owed $6.6 million thanks to a Chip Kelly era extension. Philly would save just $1.8 million of that if he is cut, so that makes little sense. The best case would be to find a trade partner willing to take most of the salary in exchange for a later round pick. Many news outlets have reported this scenario is likely.
4. Cut Ryan Mathews
Mathews was the Eagles best running back last season but that isn’t saying much. When he wasn’t hurt, he looked fantastic — but he also shared time with Darren Sproles (back for one more season) and a few journeymen including returning rookie Wendell Smallwood. Can Smallwood take over as a primary back? Will the Eagles draft a cheaper alternative in a later round? Both would make a lot of sense, as would opening up $4 million in cap space by letting Mathews walk.