It appears the Eagles’ special teams will be undergoing some possible changes this offseason.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport, Philadelphia has elected not to tender pending free agent punter Cameron Johnston due to the team’s salary cap issues:
The Eagles had been busy the past few days, tendering players like Alex Singleton and Boston Scott. Johnston will not be one of them.
With this move, the Eagles will end saving some money. It would’ve cost about $2.4 million to tender Johnston, per BGN’s Brandon Lee Gowton.
Any amount of savings helps for a team that is deeply burdened with cap issues, but it comes at the cost of a useful and underrated player.
Johnston, 29, took over for the retired Donnie Jones in 2018. The Australian native made a solid impact throughout his time with the Eagles.
This past season, Johnston finished 4th in total punt yardage this past season with 3,318 yards. Johnston averaged around 46.7 yards a punt, and was tied for sixth in the league for punts inside the 20 with 26.
Could A Possible Replacement Be In-House?
Worry not, #puntersarepeopletoo advocates. This move certainly doesn’t rule out any sort of return. Perhaps Johnston’s market won’t be as active as Rapoport expects and will come back for a price that the Eagles would prefer.
However, the Birds might simply move on with someone new. If that’s the case, then eyes should turn to Arryn Siposs, the other punter on the Eagles’ roster (and another Aussie).
Siposs just signed a futures contract with the team in January.
Siposs, 28, is set to have a base salary of $780,000 in 2021 (via Spotrac). That’s actually $30,000 more than Johnston earned last year.
Clearly the Eagles see potential in Siposs, which makes letting Johnston walk easier to understand.
Regardless of whoever kicks the ball away for the Eagles next year, Johnston will be missed. In a season where nothing seemed to go right for the Birds, Johnston proved to be a bright spot multiple times.