Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls, Howie Roseman has done it again. The Eagles GM has pieced together one of the most significant off-season periods in recent history, and he’s not finished quite yet.
Roseman Knows Best
Two weeks ago, multiple organizations were fighting for the chance to sign one of the NFL’s most prominent free agents in CB Byron Jones. The Dolphins ended up reeling in Jones for a five year, $85 million deal that will have a cap hit of about $21 million per year. So what did Howie do? He turned around and inked seven players that will heavily contribute in 2020 for a total of $12.5 million: CB Darius Slay ($4.3 million), CB/S Jalen Mills ($4 million), DT Javon Hargrave ($3.4 million), S Rodney Mcleod ($1.65 million), CB/S Will Parks ($1.5 million), DT Hassan Ridgeway ($1 million), and CB Nickell Robey-Coleman ($1 million). Most of these signing came through Free Agency, and the addition of Darius Slay stemmed from a trade with Detroit at the low cost of 2020 3rd Round and 5th round picks.
Hargrave’s Structured Contract
Roseman is known for his unique and intelligent structuring of contracts to avoid massive salary cap hits in the early stages of high payed players deals. His most recent example was new Defensive Tackle Javon Hargrave, who was one of the most touted defensive lineman in the NFL last season. Hargrave’s contract appears to be a 3 year, $39 million deal but as the years go on the cap hits are marginalized and here’s how: the signing bonus ($11.5 million) will be spread evenly throughout the length of Hargrave’s contract, but Roseman has allotted two “dead years” at the end of the agreement to allow the bonuses to be elongated over 5 years instead of 3. This reduces the cap hit in the first year and allows the Eagles to keep room for negotiation in years four and five.
Now, there is only $25.5 million in guaranteed money, and the contract includes the option for the Eagles to get out of the deal after just two seasons barring Hargrave’s success. Since Roseman has spread the bonuses over a five year period, the Eagles would save $7 million in cap space if they exercised the option of backing out of the contract after the first two seasons. However, if Hargrave plays for the length of his three-year deal, the two “dead years” become void and just leave $4.2 million for Hargrave due to his agreed upon signing bonus in 2020. So Hargrave will cost the Eagles $3.4 million in 2020 instead of $5.17 million, Howie is a genius.
Howie is not done yet, and he has a few more tricks up his sleeve. Rumors involving the Eagles and veteran players Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy are cycling through the media. Both of these skill players spent their previous seasons with the Chiefs and ex-coach Andy Reid.
Sammy Watkins (WR)
Watkins did not find much success in Kansas City, and the Chiefs are shopping him around the league. Watkins fits perfectly within a desperate Eagles’ WR group. However, Watkins 2020 salary is set at $13.75, creating a cap hit of $21 million and would lower the Eagles’ current salary cap of $27.6 million. Based on his performance over the past few seasons, he is simply not worth it. Roseman is patiently waiting for the Chiefs to release the veteran wideout to swoop in a sign him for a much more realistic deal in 2020. At the end of the day, Watkins is not a make or break signing for the Birds, but he would bring in some leadership and talent, something that Alshon Jeffrey lacks at times.
LeSean McCoy (RB)
Unlike the Eagles group of Wide Receivers, the Running Backs are young and promising. Miles Sanders and Boston Scott proved their worth and then some, last season. Shady will forever be a beloved Eagle and would add a unique dynamic to the group, much like Jordan Howard‘s veteran prowess did. However, I do not know how much LeSean has left in the tank, but I know how much Howie believes in bringing back former Eagles towards the latter end of their careers. During media week at Super Bowl 54, McCoy told the media that he wants to retire as an Eagle when all is said and done.
It would only be worth bringing back McCoy if the cap hit fell within the $2 million range, and I think Howie will pull the trigger.
Alshon Jeffery Returns?
Last week in an interview with Eagles insider Dave Spadaro, Roseman alluded to the controversial chance at bringing back Alshon Jeffery. A lot of people have turned on Alshon, especially after the locker-room drama that reportedly stemmed from Jefferey during the middle of the 2019 season. In the interview, Howie said, “Alshon wants to win World Championships in Philly. He told me how important it is to him to work hard and be a Philadelphia Eagle.” Now, Howie may be using this as a ploy for teams to inquire about possible trades for Alshon but it seems as if he will be returning next season. Alshon will improve his demeanor and attitude and will be the demonizing deep threat that he once was during the Eagles historic Super Bowl run.
Jaguars’ Yannick Ngakoue
There have been more rumors floating around about the possibility of the Eagles trading the Jaguars for DE Yannick Ngakoue. However, Ngakoue’s camp is waiting to see what type of contract Free Agent Jadeveon Clowney signs and will base his contract off of Clowney’s. In recent days Ngakoue has also made it seem that he would love to become an Eagle based on multiple social media posts heralding the city of Philadelphia.
The Jaguars have the ninth overall pick in the 2020 draft, and Roseman has made it seem that they would love to move up in the draft. I could see a deal like this surfacing on Draft Day:
Carson Wentz‘s Future
Carson Wentz has solidified himself as a top tier NFL Quarterback and the Eagles’ guy for the future. Jared Goff ($36 million), Dak Prescott ($31.5 million), and Russell Wilson ($31 million) are the three most significant QB cap hits in 2020. Roseman and Wentz were able to come to a consensus on an extension that has Wentz as the 17th biggest QB cap hit in the NFL at $18.6 million, and this stays the story for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
The Eagles have one of the smartest GMs in football, and our fans must understand that Howie always has a plan, most of the time, we must expect the unexpected.
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