The Eagles’ trade for Michael Bennett Wednesday is a headscratcher for those worried about the team’s growing salary cap woes. But Howie Roseman will figure it out.
The more interesting discussion started with the Seahawks decision to ship a player with seven or more sacks in five of the last six seasons to Philly for a fifth round draft pick (and journeyman wide receiver Marcus Johnson) is the striking similarities between Seattle and Philadelphia.
Russell Wilson is in the third year of a four-year, $84.6 million extension he signed in 2015. The $23 million cap hit Russell gives the Seahawks is detrimental to the team’s competitivness. Hence why they were close to cutting the defensive end outright — and were willing to settle for a third day draft pick (while still sending a seventh to Philly) in order to escape his $6.65 million cap hit.
Carson Wentz has one year left before he becomes eligible for a contract extension on his more than affordable rookie year. Eagles fans should get a pretty good idea of what it will cost to keep Wentz around when they see the deal Kirk Cousins will soon get this offseason — or the deal Aaron Rodgers will eventually get when he signs an inevitable new extension.
The Bennett trade is the first move of the final stage of the first part if the Wentz era.
“From our perspective, you look at teams who have young quarterbacks, and they kind of have two phases of that, where the guy is in on a rookie contract and then what they have to do when they pay that guy,” Roseman said last week at the NFL Combine. “Our task is to kind of study the successful teams who are paying quarterbacks and to look at the resource allocation.”
In other words, expect maybe a few rentals this and next season — and the Eagles to start aggressively acquiring draft picks ahead of Wentz’ huge payday. If they want to continue to keep homegrown stars like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Zach Ertz, young players will need to play bigger roles in the future.
“The best way to do that is to try and balance that with some young salaries,” Roseman said.
Philly doesn’t have a second or third round pick, which is a problem. But they do have guys like Vinny Curry and Mychal Kendricks who are more or less redunant on the Eagles roster and could potentiall fetch some kind of draft pick haul on the trade market.
They also have Nick Foles.
Foles’ asking price is a first and fourth rounder, a precident set by the Vikings when they sent that return to Philly in exchange for Sam Bradford. There is a lot of disagreement over what the Super Bowl MVP’s real value is on the open market, but the Eagles are in a strong negotiating position and he could be the key for renewing for the future. They are also understandbly likely to be tentative as Wentz recovers from knee surgery back in December.
What the Eagles will look like when they are paying Wentz upwards of $25 or even $30 million per season could be vasly different that the stack roster they currently boast. It will be Wentz Phase 2.
But for now, Bennett and whomever else Roseman adds this season will look to give the Eagles a good run for their money as they wrap up Wentz Phase 1.