Asomugha tops list of Eagles who could be cut

021913_nnamdi.jpg

Asomugha tops list of Eagles who could be cut

They have about a million decisions to make. None bigger than what to do with Nnamdi Asomugha.
 
As the offseason heats up with the Combine this week in Indianapolis, free agency a few weeks away and the draft in two months, the Eagles must determine if Asomugha, the one-time dazzling All-Pro corner with the Raiders, is salvageable.
 
Asomugha was inconsistent in 2011 in his first year with the Eagles but downright awful this past season.

He’s due $15 million in base salary in 2013, and if the Eagles release him, they’ll owe him the $4 million guaranteed portion of his base salary.

Asomugha’s $15 million salary cap figure in 2013 is not just the highest on the team, it represents more than 10 percent of the Eagles’ total projected available cap space this coming season.

Combine his astronomical salary and cap figure with his woeful play on the field, and it’s impossible to imagine the Eagles keeping Asomugha, who is also due $12 million each in 2014 and 2015.
 
If they release him, they’ll eat only the $4 million guaranteed portion of his base salary and take a $4 million cap hit. It’s a lot of money but considering the Eagles’ vast amount of cap space, not prohibitive.
 
If Asomugha’s play was even adequate, the Eagles could ask Asomugha to cut his pay to return. But Asomugha really represents everything that went wrong with this team last year, and it’s tough to come up any realistic scenario in which he stays.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, asked Tuesday about Asomugha, hardly gave him a ringing endorsement.
 
The question: Was signing Asomugha a mistake?
 
Roseman: “We were 4-12 last year, so there were a lot of mistakes that were made, and we’re very disappointed about the results.
 
“We want to make sure that going forward that we have the right fits for our scheme and fitting into our culture for every player on the team.
 
“At the same, we want to make sure we communicate with all our players and talk to them about their role when it’s appropriate.”

Which sure seems to be a nicer way of saying: “He stinks, but we haven’t told him we’re cutting him yet.”

Asomugha isn’t the only veteran Eagle in danger of getting cut.

Veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins is due a $1.5 million roster bonus on March 17. He’s due $4.5 million in base salary, with $1.5 million of it guaranteed. So if the Eagles release him, they’d spend $1.5 million to save another $1.5 million.

Evan Mathis is due a $1 million roster bonus on March 24, but he was the Eagles’ offensive MVP last year and it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t fit into new head coach Chip Kelly’s plans.
 
Nate Allen is an interesting name. He’s due a $709,000 roster bonus next month to go with a modest $642,000 base salary, $575,000 of which is guaranteed. Not much of a savings. Do the Eagles consider him salvageable? We’ll find out soon.

One other oddity regarding the Eagles’ 2013 payroll: 2011 Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin, released during the 2012 season, has a $900,000 cap figure thanks to an accelerated portion of his original signing bonus.
 
Babin, now with the Jaguars actually has the 18th-highest 2013 cap figure on the team.

Thanks to their $23,046,035 in unspent 2012 payroll, the Eagles have a projected adjusted salary cap of about $145 million, since the unadjusted cap figure is expected to be about $122 million.

The players they currently have under contract have a combined 2013 cap hit of $126,680,602, although that number is certain to come down as the Eagles trim the roster in the coming weeks.
 
The Eagles’ 10-richest 2013 contracts add up to $68,316,625 against the cap, or nearly half their available cap space.

The list below illustrates the gap between the haves and the relative have-nots in the NFL. The Eagles have 14 players with a cap figure of $2.3 million or higher but only three between $768,000 and $2.3 million.
 
Here’s a look at the 2013 cap figures of everybody currently on the Eagles’ roster (with the exception of Dennis Dixon and Ed Wang, whose contracts are not yet available. Also: If a player is listed twice, it’s because he signed two separate contracts last year with the Ealges):
 
Nnamdi Asomugha        $15,000,000    
Jason Peters                   $11,042,000    
DeSean Jackson             $9,000,000      
Cullen Jenkins               $5,600,000      
Trent Cole                     $5,350,000      
LeSean McCoy               $4,940,625      
Jeremy Maclin                $4,553,000      
Brent Celek                    $4,531,000      
Todd Herremans            $4,300,000      
Evan Mathis                   $4,000,000      
Mike Patterson               $3,000,000      
Brandon Graham             $2,957,500      
Jason Avant                    $2,710,000      
Fletcher Cox                   $2,327,545
Nate Allen                      $1,242,000      
Mychal Kendricks           $1,010,101      
Mat McBriar                    $920,000         
*Jason Babin                   $900,000
Vinny Curry                    $768,598
Curtis Marsh                  $760,880         
Clay Harbor                    $743,225
Antonio Dixon                $735,000
Allen Barbre                    $720,000
Trent Edwards                 $715,000
Evan Moore                      $715,000
Riley Cooper                    $672,871
Casey Matthews               $663,716
Alex Henery                     $660,027         
Nick Foles                        $655,880         
Jamar Chaney                   $645,064         
Kurt Coleman                   $640,842         
Everette Brown                  $630,000         
Brandon Hughes               $630,000         
Nick Miller                        $630,000         
Dion Lewis                        $602,220         
Matt Kopa                          $588,333
Brandon Boykin                  $581,367
Jason Kelce                        $579,358         
*Jaiquawn Jarrett                $558,636
Dennis Kelly                       $527,220         
Phillip Hunt                        $511,668         
Bryce Brown                        $492,720         
Damaris Johnson                $485,000
Chris Polk                           $483,333         
Ronnie Cameron                 $480,000
Marcus Dowtin                   $480,000         
Stanley Havili                     $480,000         
Chris Hawkins                    $480,000         
Uchechukwu Igwenagu       $480,000
Trevard Lindley                   $480,000         
Marvin McNutt                    $480,000         
Nate Menkin                       $480,000         
Ryan Rau                             $480,000
Dallas Reynolds                  $480,000         
Chris McCoy                        $412,500         
Derek Carrier                       $405,000         
B.J. Cunningham                  $405,000         
Ron Johnson                        $405,000         
Matt Reynolds                      $405,000
*Keenan Clayton                  $116,698
*Mike Kafka                          $116,698         
*Marvin McNutt                    $74,172           
*Jordan Ford                         $8,334
*Uchechukwu Igwenagu       $7,334
*Charles Henry                     $5,834
*Brett Brackett                      $3,334
*Cliff Harris                          $3,334
*Tevita Finau                        $1,334
*Matt Camilli                        $667    
*Alfred McCullough              $667    
 
* -- Player Released

Best of MLB: Streaking Indians top Jays, run win streak to 13

Best of MLB: Streaking Indians top Jays, run win streak to 13

TORONTO -- Carlos Carrasco struck out a season-high 14, Jason Kipnis and Rajai Davis hit solo home runs and the Cleveland Indians matched a franchise record by winning their 13th consecutive game Thursday night, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1.

Cleveland's streak is the longest by any team this season, and the longest for the Indians since winning 13 straight in 1951. Cleveland also won 13 in a row in 1942.

Indians starting pitchers are 10-0 during the streak, and Cleveland has outscored its opponents 80-26.

Carrasco (4-2) allowed one run and three hits in 7 1/3 innings to win back-to-back starts for the first time since April 13 and 19. The right-hander was sidelined from April 25 to June 2 with a strained left hamstring.

Cody Allen got the last three outs for his 17th save.

R.A. Dickey (5-9) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings (see full recap).

Passed ball gives Yanks 2nd straight walk-off win
NEW YORK -- Chase Headley scored on a passed ball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and the Yankees won in their final at-bat for the second straight game to beat the Texas Rangers 2-1 on Thursday afternoon.

Four New York pitchers combined to strike out 16 Rangers as the teams split the four-game series. Didi Gregorius, who had the winning home run Wednesday night, hit a solo shot in the fifth to tie the score after Shin-Soo Choo homered to lead off the game.

Tony Barnette (5-3), the third Rangers reliever of the afternoon, walked Headley to lead off the bottom of the ninth. With runners on second and third and two outs, his pitch got through catcher Robinson Chirinos and Headley just beat the throw.

Aroldis Chapman (2-0) earned the win after pitching a scoreless ninth (see full recap).

Espinosa slam helps Nationals clobber Reds
WASHINGTON -- Danny Espinosa hit a grand slam and a three-run homer to finish with a career-high seven RBIs, and the Washington Nationals cruised past the Cincinnati Reds 13-4 on Thursday night for their fifth straight victory.

Espinosa's second career slam put Washington up 8-1 in the third inning, and his next drive made it 13-1 in the fourth. Espinosa ranks second on the team with 15 homers despite usually batting eighth.

The switch-hitting shortstop connected off Brandon Finnegan (3-7) batting right-handed, then went deep from the left side against Josh Smith.

Espinosa's previous career high for RBIs was six, and his only other grand slam came in his fifth major league game on Sept. 6, 2010.

Gio Gonzalez (4-7) gave up four runs and struck out nine over six innings for the NL East-leading Nationals, whose current winning streak comes on the heels of a seven-game skid. Gonzalez was 0-6 with an 8.44 ERA in his previous seven starts (see full recap).

Ron Hextall on free agency: Flyers hope to get better but 'not at all costs'

Ron Hextall on free agency: Flyers hope to get better but 'not at all costs'

Cautiously optimistic.

That might be the best way to describe how Ron Hextall feels about free agency, which begins Friday at noon.

The Flyers' general manager is going to be very cautious in who he targets, won’t get caught up in a bidding war and is optimistic that he can find the right top-nine player at a fair price and term.

In perfect salary cap world — one in which the Flyers had oodles of money — they would be tempted by L.A.'s Milan Lucic, St. Louis’ David Backes or Boston’s Loui Eriksson.

Lucic, in many ways, is the kind of Flyer-type player the organization covets. But all three of those players are going to command more salary and term than the Flyers can afford, and Lucic appears headed to Western Canada, anyway.

The Flyers need a scoring winger.

They go into free agency with less than $12 million in salary cap space and still have to put aside close to $5 million for restricted free agent Brayden Schenn and $1 million or so for unrestricted free agent Ryan White (see story), a very valuable and versatile fourth-liner who can move around the lineup.

On top of that, Hextall needs about $2.5 million in reserve on his cap for call-ups.

Which means, without losing a contract of say $4.5 million or so, he has at best $4 million to sign a supporting cast player — not an impact player.

“I’d like to upgrade our top six, but I would certainly upgrade our top nine,” Hextall said. “We’re not going to do something that ties our hands next summer. There’s not going to be any short-term vision that doesn’t play out long term.

“I don’t want to get into a spot here where it costs us a young player and we’re forced into a deal.”

A player such as the Isles’ Kyle Okposo would be nicely suited for the Flyers. He’s going to command more dollars than the Flyers have.

So unless Hextall can move a decent-sized contract, the only way to sign an impact free-agent forward would be to gamble and go the CBA-allowed 10 percent over the cap now and hope to get under by October when the season begins.

A number of clubs, including Minnesota and Detroit, are reportedly interested in Okposo and have far more cap space.

Given the conservative approach Hextall has taken so far as GM, it’s unlikely he would go over the cap now unless he absolutely had a deal in hand to move salary.

He tried to trade at last weekend’s NHL draft in Buffalo and failed.

“We didn’t get close to that,” he said.

As it was, there were only a handful of trades during the draft.

“Every time you turn around, someone is trying to trade a pick and you almost lose touch with what is going on,” Hextall said.

“I think the cap being where it’s at kind of restricts things. Guys aren’t easy to move and a lot of teams don’t want to add too much because they can’t afford it.”

This week saw two significant deals leading into free agency involving P.K. Subban and Shea Weber, plus Taylor Hall and Adam Larsson.

And the top pending free agent, Steven Stamkos, re-signed for eight years in Tampa Bay for $68 million.

Don’t be shocked if Hextall waits a few days to see if the market changes for certain players and price tags to come down.

“July 1 is a funny day,” Hextall said. “Now the cap, it’s somewhat flat. Might be some guys out there who are good buys, but that is not going to happen July 1. It’s usually [July] 5th or 10th or 15th when guys figure out there’s not much out there.”

One thing to keep in mind is the Flyers also recognize that defensive prospect Ivan Provorov and forward prospect Travis Konecny could both make the roster this fall.

Such a scenario would add a total of about $1.79 million onto their cap. Hextall has to figure that into the equation, as well.

One player the Flyers had genuine interest in was Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey, the unsigned prospect originally drafted by Nashville in 2012.

The Preds traded his rights to Buffalo at the draft and have until Aug. 15 to sign him or Vesey becomes a free agent.

A possible “stopgap” player today for the Flyers would be Toronto’s P.A. Parenteau, a 20-goal guy, who even at age 33, would upgrade coach Dave Hakstol’s offense at a reasonable price.

He’s the kind of bargain player Hextall seems more inclined to target if he can’t move salary for a top-six winger.

“We’re committed to getting better,” Hextall said. “Just not at all costs. At a reasonable cost.”

NBA Notes: Serge Ibaka happy after surprise trade to Magic

NBA Notes: Serge Ibaka happy after surprise trade to Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A week ago after waking up in Paris to flurry of congratulatory text messages, Serge Ibaka wasn't quite sure how to feel about the NBA draft night trade that landed him in Orlando.

But one text message in particular helped him feel better about his transition from the Oklahoma City Thunder -- a team contending for an NBA championship -- to a young team trying to figure out how to make the postseason.

"One of things that made me feel good at that moment was dad texted me," Ibaka said Thursday a news conference. "Before I could get excited and happy, my dad was happy. He congratulated me and said he was real happy for me. That's what changed everything at the moment.

"This is a business, and things happen for a reason. So I'm happy to be here and for my family and for my daughter" (see full story).

Mavericks: Center Mejri has knee surgery
DALLAS -- Mavericks center Salah Mejri has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, a procedure that isn't expected to sideline the 7-foot-2 Tunisian during the season.

Mejri, who had surgery Thursday, emerged as an energetic shot-blocker and rebounder in the second half of his rookie season in Dallas. He turned 30 in June.

While the Mavericks plan to pursue a starting center in free agency, they like the youth and promise in Mejri and the 6-11 Dwight Powell, who turns 25 in July. Powell is all Dallas has left to show for the ill-fated Rajon Rondo trade with Boston in December 2014.

Mejri averaged 3.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 34 games with six starts last season.

Clippers: Frank promoted to front office
LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers have promoted Lawrence Frank to executive vice president of basketball operations under Doc Rivers.

Frank has spent the last two seasons as an assistant under Rivers, who coaches the team and serves as president of basketball operations.

In his new job, Frank will oversee the basketball operations department and report to Rivers.

Frank coached the New Jersey Nets from 2003-10 and the Detroit Pistons from 2011-13. He was an assistant in Vancouver, New Jersey, Boston and Brooklyn before joining the Clippers.

Bucks: GM Hammond gets contract extension
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Milwaukee Bucks have extended the contract of general manager John Hammond through the 2017-18 season.

It's an extra year on Hammond's contract and the plan is for him to continue to serve as a consultant after that while assistant GM Justin Zanik takes over the main front office duties. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Bucks have not announced the move.

Zanik was hired away from the Utah Jazz in June to be groomed as Hammond's successor.

Hammond has been the Bucks GM since 2008 and was the NBA's Executive of the Year in 2009-10. He has helped bring in promising youngsters including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker.

Yahoo Sports first reported the extension.