On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles turned one month old as Super Bowl champions. They had claimed the Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis, edging the New England Patriots, 41-33, for the franchise’s first Super Bowl title.
On the same day, Eagle executive vice president Howie Roseman celebrated the occasion by rolling up his sleeves and getting back to work.
An NFL Network report, based on a series of tweets, surfaced that the Eagles, needing to trim salary to be compliant with the expected cap number, are discussing options on the future of defensive end Vinny Curry.
Curry’s cap number in 2018 is $11 million, but the starting right defensive end would probably lose his starting job next season to Derek Barnett, the 14th pick from 2017 who is coming off an impressive rookie season.
The Eagles are hoping to reduce Curry’s cap number through a restructure. If the two sides can’t agree, it’s likely the Eagles will try to deal Curry or outright release him. Cutting Curry prior to June 1 would give the Eagles $5 million in cap relief next season, but they’d still have $6 million in dead cap.
Curry is just one of several Eagles whose future will be decided in the coming days and weeks.
NFL teams can begin discussing contracts with free agents next Monday and all teams must be in compliance with the salary cap the following Wednesday.
The Eagles, per overthecap.com, are currently over the projected salary cap by more than $7 million.
It’s been a relatively quiet month since the Eagles won the Super Bowl, with very few significant personnel moves made by the team and several Eagles still making their rounds around the city, signing autographs, making appearances, and basking in the euphoria still hovering around the Delaware Valley over the city’s first Super Bowl.
All that is about to change.
Roseman and team brass have returned from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis with a clearer vision of how much it would cost to keep certain free agents – the Eagles have more than a dozen – and which players are more expendable than others as the team tries to retain as much of its Super Bowl core as possible.
Aside from Curry, here are some Eagles whose fates could be decided by the end of this week:
Nigel Bradham, linebacker
He’s the single most important free-agent-to-be. The Eagles can’t afford to lose him given their lack of depth at his position. It would be shocking if the Eagles and Bradham didn’t come to an agreement this week. If not, Bradham will hit the open market, which could be dangerous for the Eagles.
Torrey Smith, wide receiver
He carries a cap number of $5 million, and although Smith came through with some memorable catches during the playoffs, the Eagles can’t afford to keep him at that number.
Jason Peters, left tackle
Next to Curry, Peters is the likeliest to engage in discussions about his contract and perhaps a restructure. He carries a cap number of $10.6 million, not excessive given his resume, but he’s coming off an ACL surgery that cost him the final nine games and the postseason. The Eagles can save about $4.3 million in 2018 by parting with Peters.
Trey Burton, tight end
Two different reports have said Burton will have significant interest on the open market. The Eagles already have $10.6 million committed to Zach Ertz in 2018 — and more than $28 million from 2019-2021 – which makes it nearly impossible for them to keep Burton unless he’s willing to give up several million to stay in a backup role.
Mychal Kendricks, linebacker
It was a crazy year for Kendricks, who had asked to be traded or released in January, then played a major role in the team’s Super Bowl march. But the Eagles can save about $4.4 million by moving on from their 2012 second-round pick. It would make sense for the Eagles to look for a trade partner first.
— Geoff Mosher, a longtime Philadelphia sports reporter, is also a host on @975TheFanatic in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffMosherNFL.