INDIANAPOLIS -- We’re starting to get a clearer idea of what the Eagles’ salary cap situation will look like when free agency opens at 4 p.m. on March 9.
On Wednesday morning, the NFL’s 2017 salary cap was officially set at $167 million, a significant increase from last year, but a little on the lower side of what was expected.
With their salary cap carryover from 2016 ($7,933,869), the Eagles’ adjusted salary cap number for next year in $174,933,869, according to the NFL Players Association.
That sounds good, but the Eagles still don’t have a ton of room.
Thanks to just over $7 million in dead cap space (owed to players who are no longer on the team) a part of $157 million in money owed for the season, the Eagles will have about $12.5 million in cap room when free agency opens.
Of that $12.5 million, around $4.5-$5 million will go toward the rookie class. Now, they’re down to $8 million to spend. And that’s after they already cut cornerback Leodis McKelvin.
The good news for the Eagles is that there’s still an opportunity to create more cap room. The news completely stopped after McKelvin, in terms of cutting players, but will likely pick up soon as free agency approaches.
Cutting or trading Connor Barwin would save $7.75 million, Mychal Kendricks $1.8 million, Jason Kelce $3.8 million. Some of those decisions are expected to be made in the coming week as the Eagles’ brass meet with player agents in Indy.
Another move would be cutting Ryan Mathews. That would save the team around $4 million in cap space, but that move could be held up by his neck injury that landed him on IR at the end of the 2016 season.
No matter what the Eagles do, this is where vice president of football operations Howie Roseman thrives. He has the ability to manipulate the salary cap better than many throughout the league.
"Yeah, it's unusual, certainly since I've been here, to have a more challenging situation," Roseman said in early January.
"But part of our job in the front office is to look at this over a long period of time. So as we sit here today, it isn't like the first time that we are looking at that situation, and we'll do whatever's best for the football team."
This year he has his work cut out for him.