The Philadelphia Eagles are expected to have around $20.9 million in cap space this offseason. That number could spike to $34 million depending on if they restructure a few in-house contracts.
Needless to say, the Eagles will enter next month’s free agency period in much better shape than they did in 2021. Several names have already been thrown out as potential targets, including JuJu Smith-Schuster, D.J. Chark, Haason Reddick, Carlton Davis, Anthony Barr. Now Pro Football Focus had added two more intriguing players to the mix: DE Justin Houston, CB DJ Reed, Jr. Both guys are more under-the-radar signings but could step in immediately and fill holes on the defensive side of the ball.
Philadelphia is likely to lose starting cornerback Steven Nelson – he’s already hinted at cashing out in free agency – and Reed would actually be an upgrade at the position. He posted the sixth-best cornerback grade (via Pro Football Focus) last season at 78.6.
Arjun Menon wrote: “Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon runs a relatively basic scheme that plays a lot of zone coverage. This can help to mask some of Reed’s weaknesses, which includes his lack of height (5-foot-9).
Meanwhile, Houston is a four-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro who led the entire NFL in sacks back in 2014. The 32-year-old thrived under Andy Reid in Kansas City and crossed paths with Jonathan Gannon and Nick Sirianni in Indianapolis. He has 102 career sacks.
Arjun Menon wrote: “Even at 32 years old, he recorded 45 pressures and 4.5 sacks. Given that pressures are more stable from year to year than sacks, we can expect him to produce this same type of performance in 2022 with a little more sack luck heading his way.”
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Eagles Should Restructure Darius Slay
Another idea gaining momentum has to do with Darius Slay’s contract. There has been talk of locking him up to an extension coming off a monster season where he was robbed of All-Pro honors. Remember, Slay is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
The Eagles restructured his deal and saved $9.14 million in 2021 without Slay taking a pay cut. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro suggested a similar move this year where the team could convert his base salary to bonus money and spread out his $22.035 million cap hit. Slay’s base salary would drop to $1.12 million in that scenario.
More Speculation on Russell Wilson Trade
Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus provided an actual trade proposal for the Eagles in their quest for Russell Wilson. No, it doesn’t involve all three of their first-rounders in 2022. He thinks the Seattle Seahawks would do it for less – a 2022 first-rounder, a 2023 first-rounder, a 2022 third-rounder – as a way to get Wilson’s contract off their books.
The Eagles would inherit the two years and $51 million remaining on Wilson’s deal. And the Seahawks would only eat $26 million in dead money. Spielberger doesn’t mention Jalen Hurts being part of the trade either. That would a pretty hard deal for the Eagles to say no to.