The Philadelphia Eagles are cleaning house…or at least discussing all of their options.
The lack of salary cap space for the 2021 NFL season has forced owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman, into a rebuild. A rebuild that would consist of a more youthful team for the organization to focus on for years to come.
As recent trade rumors stir regarding the 30-year-old veteran tight end Zach Ertz, it seems that another veteran may also be on the parting list. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the Eagles have discussed trading Brandon Brooks earlier this week.
THE RISE OF BRANDON BROOKS
Brandon Brooks began his rookie year with the Houston Texans before joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016. He signed a five-year, $40 million contract starting as a right guard.
In 2017, Brooks was named to his first Pro Bowl; however, he could not play as the team advanced to Super Bowl LII instead, winning against the New England Patriots.
Earning his second and third consecutive Pro Bowls in 2018 and 2019, he later succumbed to a rabbit hole of injuries, which have continued to remain a current issue. Most recently, a second Achilles injury placed him on the physically unable to perform list. Brooks missed the entirety of the 2020 season. He returned to practice in December 2020, but as of February 8, he remains questionable.
Since Brooks’ time with the Philadelphia Eagles, he has played just short of 4,500 snaps. He has had an overall PFF grade of at least 74.8, earning an overall grade of 92.9 in 2019 (his last active season), ranking first among other guards in the league.
In his last eight years in the NFL, Brooks has allowed only seven sacks.
WHAT A TRADE WOULD LOOK LIKE
Brooks is contracted through the 2024 season after signing an extension with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019 worth $40 million. His current cap hit of $14.5 million is one of the largest on the team.
While his departure may seem worthwhile in terms of repairing the salary cap, the opposite is true. If the Eagles trade him before June 1, they will save $2.3 million in cap space, according to OverTheCap — a number not worth losing Brooks over.
A trade would also cause $12.2 million in dead money. Already notoriously known for incurring the largest dead cap hit in NFL history ($33.8 million) after Carson Wentz’s departure, why add more? From a financial perspective, it’s cheaper to keep Brooks around.
Trading him in 2022 would carry a decreased dead money charge of $8.1 million; however, age will be against Brooks who turns 32 this year.
MAINTAINING A STRONG OFFENSIVE LINE
Luckily, for Brooks there isn’t only a Plan A or B. The Eagles’ best option may be to actually restructure his contract. A restructure would save Philadelphia around $7 million in 2021 while ensuring that Brooks remains on the team — a win-win for all involved.
Though Brooks may be a gamble in terms of his health, it would come as a surprise if the Eagles didn’t risk the chance to keep him on the team.
If Lurie and Roseman can do one thing, it should be maintaining a strong offensive line and preventing history from repeating itself. The lack of protection during the 2020 season was evidenced by Wentz’s 50 total sacks which was one of many problems resulting in a 4-11-1 record.
The protection of soon-to-be season-starting quarterback Jalen Hurts is now fundamental, and the trio of Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, and Lane Johnson is where that security begins.