Eagles Front Office Delivers Troubling Update on Salary Cap Situation

howie roseman

Getty Howie Roseman.

There’s a reason the Eagles didn’t pursue Yannick Ngakoue or DeAndre Hopkins. They couldn’t afford luxury upgrades.

Philadelphia did pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal for shutdown cornerback Darius Slay and immediately inked him to a long-term deal. That was the only real splash move the team made in the offseason as they opted to get younger and faster via the draft.

It’s a sound strategy, assuming GM Howie Roseman hits on those picks. He has struggled to do that in recent years, most notably in 2017 where only two players from that class remain on the roster. Luckily, they are both starters.

“It’s disappointing. I take all of that personally,” Roseman said of the 2017 draft class, “and I think that you want more guys from your draft class to be successful. I think unfortunately we had to learn from that draft class and we’ve gone over some of those guys and what happened there.”

Derek Barnett and Nate Gerry are the only holdovers from that class after the team waived Sidney Jones (second-rounder) and Rasul Douglas (third-rounder). Roseman was open and honest about whiffing on those two picks, adding that “we have to be right a lot more than we’re wrong.”

“For us, we are going to be aggressive and we are going to take some chances,” Roseman said, “and then if we are wrong when we do those things, we have to learn from it. We have to figure out why they didn’t work and try to get better.”

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Roseman: ‘Hard to Sit with My Hands Tied’

The Eagles have roughly $24 million in salary-cap space, per OverTheCap, and that ranks eighth-best in the NFL. Theoretically, they could have brought in a big name like Jadeveon Clowney on an expensive one-year deal.

Why didn’t they do it? Well, that would leave them in shambles for the future. The Eagles are projected to have the second-worst salary-cap situation in 2021 (ahead of New Orleans) with an estimated $257 million committed to outstanding contracts. They are basically $63.8 million in debt, per Spotrac.

Carson Wentz’s $128 million mega-deal — a very team-friendly one in the long run — hits the books in all its glory next year, plus the team needs to sign Zach Ertz to a lucrative extension. And those negotiations are reportedly not going well.

For all those reasons, the Eagles are more likely to be sellers than buyers moving forward. They just don’t have the financial power to sign big-time free agents. Roseman needs to hope and pray his 2020 draft class hits on all cylinders, a sobering reality for a team in win-now mode.

“I don’t think we’re in the position to take on a lot of money anymore,” Roseman told reporters. “I think we need that cap space to roll over to make sure that we are in position to keep the balance of the team together in 2021. It’s just the reality of the situation and the world we’re living in.”

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic did no one any favors in terms of evaluating talent and extending the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. No excuses, though. Roseman had a plan for dealing with all of it, although it’s not in his nature to sit back with his “hands tied.” That’s been the hardest part.

“That’s hard when there’s opportunities for me to sit with my hands tied and for us to sit with our hands tied, but that’s just the reality of the situation that we’re in unfortunately right now,” Roseman said. “And, hopefully, it’s short term and we’ve got a bunch of young players on this team who will step up, as well as a lot of veteran players who we are going to count on.”

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