The Philadelphia Phillies were not the only team in the city, who made major moves last week.
The Philadelphia Eagles surprised everybody by re-signing veteran defensive end Brandon Graham to a three-year contract extension worth $40 million and veteran offensive lineman Jason Kelce to a one-year contract extension, making him the highest-paid center in the NFL.
Unlike Graham, the 31-year-old Kelce still had two years left on his current deal, which he signed back in 2014 for six years worth $37.5 million.
After the Eagles’ season had ended in the NFL playoffs against the New Orleans Saints back in January, the veteran center was reportedly unsure about his future. However, with this new deal, Kelce will not become a free agent until the 2022 season.
Heading into the new league year, which begins on Mar. 13, there was a lot speculation on if the Eagles were going to be able to re-sign Graham along with other tough decisions that the front office had to make.
Graham might have received more money on the free agent market, especially with Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Dee Ford reportedly receiving the franchise tag. But the two sides were able to come to an agreement.
With Graham and Kelce back in the fold, Philly will still have to make some tough decisions to fit the new deals under the cap, which is not a complicated issue for Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman.
One of the first tough decisions that Roseman will have to make is to keep defensive lineman Tim Jernigan or wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Both players have played key roles on the team, but have cap hits of $13 million and $9.4 million heading into next season.
As things currently stand, the Eagles have a lot of money tied up into their defensive line between All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and defensive ends Michael Bennett and Graham.
Therefore, Philly could restructure Jernigan’s contract to lower his cap hit and give them more money in free agency. Earlier this past week, it was reported that the Eagles are not expected to pick up his 2019 option.
After a solid 2017 season, where he helped the Eagles become of one of the best defenses in stopping the run. Jernigan only played in three games this past season due to back surgery.
With that being known, the 26-year-old defensive lineman may be better off restructuring his deal because he may not garner a lot of interest on the free agent market. The Eagles also could trade Jernigan too for a cheaper defensive tackle, if a restructure doesn’t work.
Along those same lines of a trade, the Eagles are reportedly open to moving Agholor. Unlike Jernigan, Agholor will more than likely be on this team when next season begins. He is only 25-years old and coming into his own as a slot wide receiver.
However, the Eagles might try to give him a contract extension as well to lower his cap number. They cannot afford to move the former first-round pick, especially since Golden Tate III, Jordan Matthews, and Mike Wallace are all pending free agents.
In addition to those players, the Eagles may also ask veteran left tackle Jason Peters to take a pay cut, who has a cap hit of $13 million next season. And then you also have to factor in veterans Chris Long and Darren Sproles, who will take their time in making a decision about their NFL futures.
As you can see, there is a lot of moving parts that the Eagles’ front office will have to figure out where do they fit at for next season. Not everybody, who was on this past season’s team will be back next season. That is just the nature of the sport.
However, they can fill those various holes in free agency with low-cost, high-reward signings and in next month’s NFL draft.