The Eagles made a pretty saavy move Tuesday morning, announcing they had inked Patriots free agent pass-rusher Chris Long to a contract — reports differ over whether the deal was for one or two years.
Reports are saying that a possible one-year, $2.4 million agreement was reached with the 10-year NFL veteran (though the Eagles affirm that it is a two-year pact with details yet unknown)who has shown he knows how to win in New England, and how to get to the quarterback prior to that in St. Louis. His previous deal with the Pats was for one year and was heavily reliant on incentives.
The 32-year-old has 58.2 career sacks in 130 career NFL games, most of them starts (in addition to12 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries). His contract — whatever the structure is — will represent a big savings from the recently cut Connor Barwin, for whom he will take over as a defensive end.
The bigger issue with the signing is that it will put the Eagles likely somewhere in the $7 million range over the maximum allowed salary for an NFL team.
The two most likely culprits to get the ax are running back Ryan Mathews and center Jason Kelce.
Kelce’s possible release would open up $3.8 million in cap space and Mathews’ would relieve$4 million. Kelce is more vulnerable than Mathews because he has been slowly showing his age at center and could be replaced by Isaac Seumalo now that Chance Warmack has been inked with the Birds to play guard.
With the NFL draft almost exactly a month away, both positions could be replaced via a rookie, but the Eagles are in desperate need of cap space. They will also get some help from whatever team decides to sign cut backup quarterback Chase Daniel.