Each year, the Philadelphia Eagles seem to struggle with their salary cap. More times than not, it looks worse than it is before restructuring contracts. However, due to lousy draft picks in 2020 and poor deals by general manager Howie Roseman, the front office is still reaping the repercussions.
Historically speaking, the salary cap increases each year. In fact, 2011 was the only year it decreased — until 2021. Due to revenue loss from the COVID-19 pandemic, the salary cap for the 2021 season is $182.5 million (down from $198 million in 2020). Fortunately, the Eagles brought $22.7 million in cap space from the 2020 season resulting in an adjusted salary cap of $206.9 million.
But…as it stands, the Eagles have 93 players on their roster, with the top 51 equating to approximately $204 million in salaries. As of March 21, 2021, Philadelphia has $2.6 million in cap space remaining; so, where has all the money gone?
Highest Paid Eagles Players 2021 – Top 10:
Below is a look at what the top 10 highest paid Eagles players will make this year. Some of which may save Philadelphia money if they decide to part ways prior to the 2021-2022 season.
Fletcher Cox — $23,879,939
In 2016, Fletcher Cox signed a six-year contract extension worth $103 million with $63 million guaranteed.
He will go into the 2021 season with a base salary of $15,000,000 and bonuses worth $8,879,939.
Hypothetically speaking, if the Eagles cut Cox pre-June 1, they would save $1.8 million in salary-cap space. This would never happen. Cox has been with Philadelphia his entire NFL career, and he is consistently one of the team’s best players, earning his sixth Pro-Bowl this past season.
The Eagles could restructure his salary, saving as much as $11.9 million.
Lane Johnson — $17,848,498
First signing with the team in 2013, he signed a six-year contract extension worth $63 million with $35.5 million guaranteed in 2016, becoming the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL. The Eagles revised his contract again in 2019; a four-year $72 million deal with $54.6 million guaranteed. He is now the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.
The Eagles won’t cut him, but they could restructure his deal. There were rumors of this occurring earlier this offseason, but nothing official has happened yet.
Zach Ertz — $12,721,500
So far, each of Philadelphia’s highest-paid players started their NFL career as an Eagle. Ertz is no different.
Before the 2020 season, contract extensions with big paydays were given to tight ends across the league — namely, George Kittle of the 49ers and Chiefs’ Travis Kelce. Ertz wanted a piece of the pie too, but the extension never came. He then played one of the worst seasons of his career, later becoming emotional when questioned about potentially leaving Philadelphia.
Before the 2021 NFL Draft, there were rumors again that Ertz would be worked into a trade, however, no deal was made. Ertz would prefer the team of his choice and a departure from Philadelphia would save the team $4.9 million.
Derek Barnett — $10,051,000
The Eagles signed Barnett in 2017 to a four-year, $12.85 million contract. In 2020, the team exercised their fifth-year option, which has now increased Barnett’s salary by almost $8 million compared to last year.
Barnett has 101 total tackles, 75 solo tackles, and 19.5 sacks.
Brandon Graham — $7,988,000
Graham has also been with Philadelphia since the start of his NFL career. In 2019, he signed a three-year, $40 million contract extension. This past season he secured his first Pro Bowl.
Earlier this offseason, the Eagles restructured his contract to help with the salary cap. Graham will make a base salary of $1,075,000 and $6,913,000 in bonuses. This helped save the team approximately $9 million.
Brandon Brooks — $7,014,235
In 2016, Brandon Brooks joined the Eagles, signing a five-year, $40 million deal. His contract was extended in 2019 through the 2024 season and came with a $54.2 million salary.
Brooks was named to the Pro Bowl in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Given his success in Philadelphia, the Eagles would be senseless to even think about parting ways with him. On March 12, 2021, his contract was restructured saving the team $7 million in cap space.
Darius Slay — $6,610,000
Slay was traded to the Eagles in 2020 in exchange for a third-round and fifth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. He signed a three-deal worth $50 million, with $30 million guaranteed.
On March 5, 2021, Slay’s contract was restructured. The Eagles saved $9.14 million in cap space. Slay will now enter the 2021 season sporting a new number – No. 2.
Javon Hargrave — $5,792,000
Hargrave, who was previously with the Pittsburgh Steelers, joined Philadelphia in March 2020. He signed a three-year $39 million contract. He completed 38 total tackles and 4.5 sacks in midnight green.
Similar to his teammates, his contract was also restructured in early-March. This move saved the Eagles $9.4 million.
Jason Kelce — $5,574,000
Kelce can’t seem to part ways with the Eagles and fans throughout Philadelphia are thankful for that. In March, the center took to social media to announce that he is not retiring and will return for the 2021 season.
According to NFL’s Ian Rapoport, Kelce was reportedly supposed to be paid $9 million fully guaranteed with the potential to make $12 million. However, his contract was restructured to serve as a one-year deal.
The 33-year-old has been with the Eagles since he was drafted in 2011. He is a four-time Pro Bowler, playing in over 100 consecutive games.
DeVonta Smith — $3,662,071
A newcomer to the list. Wide receiver DeVonta Smith was selected as the No. 10 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
From Alabama, he was awarded 14 honors, including the Heisman Trophy Award during the 2020 season. He finished his collegiate career with 235 receptions on 3,965 receiving yards and 46 touchdowns.
Known as the “Slim Reaper” due to his small build, Smith is already gaining popularity among Philadelphia fans who will make his professional debut in 2021.
On June 3, 2021, Smith a four-year contract with the Eagles. The deal is worth $20.1 million fully guaranteed with a $12.6 million signing bonus. There is also a fifth-year option which is standard for first-round selections.
Prior to Smith’s contract, Andre Dillard held the No. 10 spot on the list with a cap number of $3,374,076.
Philadelphia Highest Paid Eagles Players – Recap
- Fletcher Cox — $23,879,939
- Lane Johnson — $17,848, 498
- Zach Ertz — $12,721,500
- Derek Barnett — $10,051,000
- Brandon Graham — $7,988,000
- Brandon Brooks — $7,014,235
- Darius Slay — $6,610,000
- Javon Hargrave — $5,792,000
- Jason Kelce — $5,574,000
- DeVonta Smith — $3,662,017
Prior to Carson Wentz’s trade to the Indianapolis Colts on 3/12/21, he previously held the No. 1 spot on the list with a salary of $34,673,536. This is now the highest debt in NFL history, totaling $33.8 million in dead money. DeSean Jackson was also No. 9 with a salary of $10,659,000. The Eagles incurred $5.8 million in dead money when he was released on 2/19/21.