Eventually, the Eagles are going to need to create some salary cap room before the start of the upcoming NFL season in September.
And even if they didn’t, there is some fat that needs to get trimmed.
For a team looking to simultaniously rebuild while contending for an NFC East title in 2017, there are still a bevy of roster decisions the team will need to make with regard to some high-profile players.
Mychel Kendricks and Jason Kelce are two that have been the subject of both trade and release rumors since the end of last season.
Kendricks — a talented middle linebacker who thrived under Chip Kelly and the 3-4 defense — has struggled to get on the field in Jim Schwartz’ wide-nine scheme. More often than not, the Eagles have five defensive backs on the field to counter a pass-happy NFL offense across the board and he was unable to break through as the team favored Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham. He is also due $6.6 million and carries a $9.5 million cap hit this year.
And then there’s Jason Kelce, who has been a solid center for the Eagles but has also been mistake-prone in recent seasons. The Eagles have depth at offensive line and his $6.2 million salary carries it’s a $2.4 million cap hit making him a cutable luxury.
Eagles VP of Football Operations Howie Roseman is adament that neither is leaving despite evidence to the contrary.
“Yes, they are here, and we fully anticipate that they’re going to be here going forward,” he told the press after the Eagles wrapped up the 2017 NFL draft last weekend.
With 84 players already on the team and just 90 spots available, will they opt to bring in more young, cheap talent to compete?
“I think, for us, what we’re going to do is we’re going to weigh the value of some of the undrafted free agents versus some of the guys on the roster,” Roseman said. “If there’s an opportunity to improve our football team, we’ve got to take that opportunity to do that.”
Ryan Mathews is another name to keep an eye on. The bruising downhill running back has been injured all offseason and can be cut for just $1 million (of his $5 million salary in 2016) later this spring and summer. After drafting Donnell Pumphrey at running back and with Jamal Charles rumors still swirling, the door was actually left open for a Mathews release.
“Ryan Mathews is on this team,” Roseman said. “Can I tell you anyone who’s going to be on this team in September? We’re here in April. All that stuff will work itself out. His rehab is going well. There are some things that he — some parts of the process that he has to get through here — but he’s working hard and he’s able to work out and he’s cleared to do all that.”