After coming off a monster season, the Philadelphia Eagles are trying to run in back in 2023. But, in order to do that, they need massive playmakers — most of which expect equally as massive contracts.
This week, Howie Roseman re-worked kicker Jake Elliott’s contract. The move freed up $2.49 million in cap space, leaving the Eagles with $6.6 million to sign other players. However, they simply need more and if they want more, they should make the following four moves.
INCREASING THE EAGLES CAP SPACE
Restructure Darius Slay’s contract
Cornerback Darius Slay is currently the highest paid Eagles’ player. With a base salary of $17 million he carries a cap number of $26.11 million for the season. Slay, however, wants more money and a multi-year contract.
The Eagles who are battling financial issues, allowed Slay to seek a trade as of Friday, March 10. But, in all honesty that works in neither party’s favor.
A trade before June 1 would only clear $3.7 million in cap space, leaving the Eagles with $22.4 million in dead money. If they waited until after June 1, their cap space would clear by $8.6 million in 2023 and $13.8 million in 2024. But, waiting until after June 1 prohibits Philadelphia from signing other players before other teams snatch them up.
If Philadelphia restructured his contract this offseason (leaving his salary as is), the team would save $12.25 million.
Recently Slay stated, “Of course I want an extension with the Eagles. I love the Eagles. They took another chance on me trading for me and it panned out very well. But yeah, I love that money, so of course I’m going to be talking about it this offseason. That’s everyone, that’s we all do when we’ve got one year left on our deal. We try to get the extension because it makes the cap low and then you get to start building around the team because once your cap’s too high, you can’t add more players. So with me, with my cap that high, I’m sure they probably want to get it down, and the best way to get it down is to give me some money. I love Philly, man. I plan on staying on Philly, but if it don’t happen, I know I got one year left here. I’d love to stay in Philly for sure.”
Restructure Lane Johnson’s contract
The second-highest paid Eagle, offensive tackle Lane Johnson comes with a cap number of $24.2 million.
Johnson has been with the Philadelphia Eagles for his entire career, and fans want to keep him here. During the 2022 season, he set an NFL record of not allowing a sack in 26 consecutive games. He is a Second-Team All-Pro, two-time First-Team All-Pro, and four-time Pro Bowler.
After finishing the 2022 regular-season with a torn adductor, Johnson underwent surgery following the Eagles’ Super Bowl loss. He is expected to make a full recovery, and will likely return to the Eagles with a new restructured contract, saving the team $10.59 million in cap space.
Extend Jalen Hurts’ contract
This sounds counterintuitive, especially since quarterback Jalen Hurts is about to land one of the biggest contracts in NFL history. However, extending his contract would actually free up $2.6 million in cap space this offseason.
Recently, the New York Giants signed quarterback Daniel Jones to a four-year deal worth $160 million. Though the deal was crazy, it actually helped Hurts. If Jones could make that much money with only 15 passing touchdowns, what could the MVP runner-up get?
Analysts are projecting a five-year $250 million extension for Hurts. In reality a win-win — Hurts inherits a contract he worked hard for, and the Eagles hold onto a potential franchise quarterback.
Cut Quez Watkins
Releasing the wide receiver prior to June 1, would save the Eagles $2.7 million in cap space.
Though Watkins was a deep-threat during the 2021 season, after Philadelphia acquired A.J. Brown, utilizing him and DeVonta Smith as a pair, Watkins’ stats have decreased. Last season he completed 33 receptions for 354 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Cutting Watkins wouldn’t decrease the Eagles’ offensive production, but would allow for some financial wiggle room.
TOTAL CAP SPACE SAVINGS
In just four moves, the Philadelphia Eagles can create $28.14 million in cap space, bringing their total cap space to $34.74 million. It would allow for enough money to keep some of the Eagles best free agents around for the 2023 season — something Philadelphia needs.