Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles 2021 salary cap review: Are they really in cap hell?

  • Alshon Jeffery
  • Brandon Graham
  • carson wentz
  • Derek Barnett
  • DeSean Jackson
  • Fletcher Cox
  • Malik Jackson
  • Marquise Goodwin
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Vinny Curry
  • Zach Ertz
By Max Derringer August 17, 2020 0 Comment
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The Philadelphia Eagles salary cap situation in 2021 appears alarming; however, the situation may not be as dire as it looks.

The Philadelphia Eagles salary cap in 2021 has been a big talking point among fans before the 2020 season.

Currently the Eagles have a top 51 salary cap hit of $266.4 million, according to Over the Cap, and with the current COVID-19 pandemic the salary cap could fall to $175 million for the 2021 season. Assuming the worst case scenario of the salary cap being $175 million for the 2021 season, this would have the Eagles roughly $91.4 million over the cap

According to Field Yates, the Eagles had, as of August 7th, $23.8 million in cap space left for the 2020 season. Now that figure is about $21.8 million after the Vinny Curry signing. Any cap space the Eagles have left after the 2020 season ends, they can roll that over to the next seasons salary cap.

Assuming that the team will have around $18 million left after the season ends, after in season signings etc. The $18 million dollars will roll-over to the 2021 cap and put the Eagles in a $73.4 million dollar hole. That figure is quite alarming, but the Eagles do have options to help them get under the 2021 projected salary cap floor of $175 million. The 2021 off-season will likely require the Eagles to say goodbye to fan-favorite players, but they have put themselves in situation where it is necessary.

The Eagles have two options when it comes to cutting players. They can cut them with no designation and absorb all of the dead cap in that same season or they can cut them with a post June 1st designation which allows them to spread the dead cap over the remaining length of the players contract.

NFL teams can only designate up to two players as a post June 1st cut.

Cut Candidates

Post June 1st Candidates

Brandon Graham, EDGE: 2021 cap hit $17.9 million

The move will be a tough one for Eagles fans as Brandon Graham has been with the team since the 2010 season. However, this move may be one the Eagles have to make. Cutting Brandon Graham frees up $13.0 million in cap space. However, this would leave the roster thin at the defensive end position and they would most likely have to invest a high draft pick on the position in the 2021 draft.

   2021 Cap Savings          2021 Dead Cap           2022 Dead Cap      
Cut w/ June 1st designation   13 million 4.9 million 12.3 million

Below is a look at the Eagles cap situation if the above move is made

    Amount over $175 mil 2021 Cap            2021 Dead Cap               2022 Dead Cap        
60.4 million 4.9 million 12.3 million

Malik Jackson, DT: 2021 cap hit $13.6 million

The Eagles have a lot of financial resources tied-up to the defensive tackle position in the 2021 season (Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave). Because of this, the team could decide to move on from Malik Jackson. The only option the Eagles have in regards to cutting Malik Jackson is to declare him a post June 1st cut as cutting him without that designation saves the team only $1 million.

   2021 Cap Savings          2021 Dead Cap           2022 Dead Cap      
Cut w/ June 1st designation 10 million 3.6 million 9.0 million

Below is a look at the Eagles cap situation if the above move is made

    Amount over $175 mil 2021 Cap            2021 Dead Cap               2022 Dead Cap        
50.4 million 8.5 million 21.3 million

Pre June 1st cut candidates

Alshon Jeffery, WR: 2021 cap hit $18.5 million

The Eagles are not going to keep Alshon Jeffery at his $18.5 cap hit and will probably look to move on from the wide receiver after the 2020 season. It seems likely that the Eagles will decide to move on from Jeffery after the 2020 season.

   2021 Cap Savings          2021 Dead Cap           2022 Dead Cap      
Cut w/o June 1st designation 7.8 million 10.7 million 0

Below is a look at the Eagles cap situation if the above move is made

    Amount over $175 mil 2021 Cap            2021 Dead Cap               2022 Dead Cap        
42.6 million 19.2 million 21.3 million

DeSean Jackson, WR: 2021 cap hit $10.9 million

Depending on how DeSean Jackson’s 2020 season goes, this could be a tough pill to swallow for the Eagles. If the receiver has another injury plagued year then the decision becomes easier. If Desean has a great season, then the Eagles may look to other moves to free cap space or they could look to restructure him.

   2021 Cap Savings          2021 Dead Cap           2022 Dead Cap      
Cut w/o June 1st designation 5.1 million 5.8 million 0

Below is a look at the Eagles cap situation if the above move is made

    Amount over $175 mil 2021 Cap            2021 Dead Cap               2022 Dead Cap        
37.2 million 25.0 million 21.3 million

Marquise Goodwin, WR: 2021 cap hit $4.4 million

Marquise Goodwin decided to opt-out of the 2020 season, this means his contract tolls to the 2021 season. With the Eagles in rough shape in regards to cap space in 2021, the team could decide to move on before he ever plays a down for the team. Goodwin does not have any guaranteed money for the 2021 season so this could be an easy decision for the Eagles.

   2021 Cap Savings          2021 Dead Cap      
Cut (any designation)  4.4 million 0

Below is a look at the Eagles cap situation if the above move is made

    Amount over $175 mil 2021 Cap            2021 Dead Cap               2022 Dead Cap        
32.8 million 25.0 million 21.3 million

Next we will look at players who may be eligible for contract restructures.

Restructure Candidates:

The Eagles do have a couple restructure candidates they could explore. Restructuring contracts does lower the base salary of that player for the current season, but increases their dead cap hits in future seasons. Restructuring contracts makes it tougher to move on from that player in future seasons, so the Eagles should restructure players they believe will be productive players for multiple seasons.

Fletcher Cox, DT: 2021 cap hit $22.5 million

Fletcher Cox is an easy candidate for a restructure as he is still among the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL.

If the Eagles choose to restructure Fletcher Cox, this is what it could look like compared to his current contract:

    Current Deal               Dead Money                  Restructure                  Dead Money        
2021 22.5 million 15.3 million 12.5 million 30.3 million
2022 22.4 million 8.9 million 27.3 million 18.8 million

If the Eagles choose to restructure Fletcher Cox it would save $10 million on the 2021 cap.

Below is a look at the Eagles cap situation if the above move is made

   Amount over 2021 Cap of $175 mil       2021 Dead Cap        2022 Dead Cap
22.8 million 25.0 million 21.3 million

Carson Wentz, QB: 2021 cap hit $34.6 million

Restructuring the contract of Carson Wentz would give the Eagles the most cap relief of any move they can make. The Eagles would have to decide if they want to make this move as restructuring Wentz would likely keep him in Philadelphia till the 2023 season at least. That is a big deal as the team just drafted Jalen Hurts and his contract expires after the 2023 season.

It is hard to see, absent the 2021 cap being substantially higher than projected, the Eagles getting under the 2021 salary cap without restructuring Carson Wentz.

If the Eagles choose to restructure Carson Wentz, this is what it could look like compared to his current contract:

       Current Deal       Dead Money       Restructure        Dead Money
2021 34.6 million 59.3 million 16.3 million 67.0 million
2022 31.3 million 24.5 million 37.4 million 43.0 million
2023 34.3 million 15.3 million 40.4 million 27.5 million
2024 32.0 million 6.0 million 38.2 million 12.1 million

If the Eagles choose to restructure Carson Wentz it would save $18.3 million on the 2021 cap.

Below is a look at the Eagles cap situation if the above move is made

Amount over 2021 Cap of $175 mil       2021 Dead Cap        2022 Dead Cap
4.5 million 25.0 million 21.3 million

Extension Candidates:

Derek Barnett, EDGE: 2021 cap hit $10 million

Derek Barnett is playing on the 5th-year option of his rookie contract in 2021 and the Eagles could look to extend him to lower the 2021 cap hit. The type of contract he receives depends on his play during the 2020 season. Thus far he has been a productive player, but has not quite lived up to being a 1st round draft pick.

If Barnett maintains this level of play he could receive a contract offer similar to the 5 year $45 million dollar contract that Tyrone Crawford received from the Cowboys. The first year of Crawford’s contract he received $2.8 million, if we assume Barnett receives $5 million, his cap hit for the 2021 season would be cut in half.

The Eagles could also decide to move on from Barnett if he under performs, in which case his full salary of $10 million would come off the books.

Below is a look at the Eagles cap situation if the above move is made

Amount over 2021 Cap of $175 mil       2021 Dead Cap        2022 Dead Cap
-0.5 million 25.0 million 21.3 million

Zach Ertz, TE: 2021 cap hit $12.5 million

Recently talk about extending Zach Ertz has increased due to the recent signings of George Kittle and Travis Kelce. The full contract breakdowns for both players have not been released as of this writing, but if extended the Eagles should expect him to have a similar annual salary.

An extension of Zach Ertz would lower his 2020 cap number. For comparison Austin Hooper signed a deal with the Browns this off-season for 4 years $42 million. In the first year of this contract, Hooper will receive $4 million. We can assume Ertz’ deal will be worth more than what Hooper received, so we can estimate that if extended Ertz could receive around $6 million in the first year of a new deal.

ThE would lower Ertz’ cap hit by $6.5 million.

Below is a look at the Eagles cap situation if the above move is made

Amount over 2021 Cap of $175 mil       2021 Dead Cap        2022 Dead Cap
-7.0 million 25.0 million 21.3 million

Overview

If the Eagles make the above moves, it would save the team around $80 million dollars on the 2021 salary cap space.

The Eagles would likely need to make more moves to get further under the salary cap if the salary cap is truly at $175 million next season. If the salary cap rises to say $185 million, then these moves would put the Eagles $17.0 million under the salary cap for 2021.

Having over $20 million in dead cap for the next two seasons is not ideal in any way, but may be a cross the Eagles have to bear.

The Eagles will be limited in the 2021 off-season as far as signing free-agents or resigning their own free agents go. The good news though is that the Eagles are not projected to lose many big name free agents in the 2021 off-season.

Potential free agent losses:

The Eagles have a lot of work to do to get under the 2021 cap, but the situation is not as impossible as it may seem.

Most of the top players for the Eagles are still signed on for the 2021 season and should be expected to remain on the roster.

What does become more important is that the Eagles must hit on their draft picks if they want to compete for a Super Bowl.

There will be many tough decisions ahead and fans can expect the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles to look a lot different than the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles.

All salary cap numbers are from Overthecap.com

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I cover, report and write about the Philadelphia Eagles.

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