The Philadelphia Eagles have a lot of question marks heading into free agency this year. The period (which began on March 15) has normally been a time for wheeling and dealing for general manager Howie Roseman.
However, a cash-strapped cap situation might limit that in 2021. The Eagles are $17.9 million in the red, per OverTheCap, but the financials are less dire than they were a month ago. Roseman has done a commendable job over the past several weeks in getting players to willingly restructure their contracts.
Brandon Graham was the latest guy to take a team-friendly deal, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, as he rearranged his $17.9 million cap hit and $13 million salary. Graham has long talked about wanting to stay in Philadelphia for the long-term, even in the face of a massive rebuild.
“I don’t want to go anywhere,” Graham said, via The Athletic. “I know I don’t have long, but I know for me, I’m here in Philly. So when I’m (retired, I’m) either going to be working here or doing something in Philly to stay connected to the team.”
Brandon Graham's new deal with Philadelphia will be a one-year extension worth close to $20 million over two years, per source. Was originally due $13 million this year. Eagles keep long-time starter with 59 sacks.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 15, 2021
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Lane Johnson Battled Roseman, Re-injured Ankle
The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane dropped a bombshell report over the weekend where he detailed some questionable behavior from Roseman and team owner Jeffrey Lurie. It’s a lengthy article, filled with comments and anecdotes from anonymous sources — definitely a good read whether it’s all true or not.
The most troubling incident involved All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson who was berated by Roseman in the team cafeteria. Johnson was dealing with personal issues when Roseman mocked him for getting beat by Tennessee Titans rookie Harold Landry. A month later, the three-time Pro Bowler had suffered a high ankle sprain and didn’t know if he could play against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. Roseman had no sympathy, per McLane.
Johnson had suffered a high ankle sprain three games earlier but continued to forge on. But as the players geared up that Sunday in the Wembley Stadium locker room, Johnson voiced concerns about playing.
Roseman caught wind and berated him, sources present said. Nearby teammates and coaches couldn’t understand why he would provoke him, considering Johnson’s current state. The tackle finished suiting up and as he walked by Roseman, the GM said, according to sources, “Good, you have your mouthpiece in, now you can’t say anything stupid.”
Source says Lane Johnson was willing to restructure his contract to help Eagles with the cap but now will not be restructuring because Eagles don’t need him to
And a source close to Lane says Lane is totally cool and fine with Howie Roseman pic.twitter.com/fJorgKl58x
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) March 12, 2021
Johnson was so distraught by the comment that he threatened to sit out. Some of the veterans on the team had to talk him into playing that day. He wound up re-injuring his ankle and getting a knee injury on top of it. Roseman and Johnson later made amends on the plane ride home, but the story remains a cautionary tale as controversy envelops Roseman’s future in Philly. Especially from the fans.
Zach Ertz Growing ‘Impatient’ with Eagles
There are also reports that tight end Zach Ertz has been growing “increasingly impatient” with the Eagles’ organization. He has been asking for the team to either trade him to a destination of his choosing or simply release him.
It’s been known for months that the three-time Pro Bowler is no longer a part of their long-term plans, but he remains on the roster. And the longer the Eagles wait to make a move, the fewer options he has in free agency. Not ideal for Ertz, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The #Eagles insist they won’t release three-time Pro Bowl TE Zach Ertz, and with multiple teams interested in a trade, Ertz is getting antsy for Philadelphia to get a deal done. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/W5T4skOlIR
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 14, 2021
What are they waiting for? Roseman is apparently holding out for a draft pick, per Pelissero, something “in the third, maybe fourth-round range.”
The Eagles insist they will not release their three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz. And with multiple teams having shown interest in a trade, I’m told Ertz has grown increasingly impatient with the team to get something done. To this point, the price has just been too high for other teams.
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