NFL salary cap set, a look at Eagles' situation in 2017

NFL salary cap set, a look at Eagles' situation in 2017

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. 

Hard times fuel no-quit attitude of Eagles 3rd-round pick Rasul Douglas

Hard times fuel no-quit attitude of Eagles 3rd-round pick Rasul Douglas

There were times when Rasul Douglas wanted to pack it in.

While playing football at Nassau Community College, Douglas struggled financially. After sleeping on the floor and not having enough money for food, Douglas thought about quitting football and heading back to East Orange, New Jersey.

“I mean, when you have to walk to McDonald’s in the snow and you order five things and you eat two of them at 12 o’clock and you save the other two dollar-menu things for later on in the day," Douglas said. "I think that was one of my craziest days.”

But Douglas didn't quit.

He performed well enough to get noticed by Division I schools and eventually went to West Virginia, where he led the nation in interceptions last season with eight.

The Eagles took him with their third-round pick, 99th overall, on Friday night.

For a kid who was unsure about where his next meal was going to come from to reach the NFL, Douglas' story is already one of triumph.

“I always think about [the hard times]," Douglas said. "Every time I eat, I always think I’m making up a meal I missed in junior college or something like that. I always make a funny joke, so I always think about it.”

Last year's 99th pick, Browns linebacker Joe Schobert, signed a four-year deal worth just under $3 million, with a signing bonus of just under $634,000. That kind of money will signal a huge life change from where Douglas was not very long ago.

But Douglas was really close to giving it all up.

He thought about leaving Nassau Community College, but his coach got him to stay. And Douglas credits his high school coach Marion Bell for getting him to go to junior college when he wasn't planning on it.

In high school, Douglas said he wasn't the best player on his high school team, but he's made it much further than many of his teammates.

"A lot of the guys went back to the streets," said Douglas, who grew up in East Orange with five siblings.

Douglas was on the Eagles' radar before the Senior Bowl in January, but it was that week in Mobile, Alabama, when he really caught their eyes.

The one thing Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas said stood out about Rasul Douglas was the young player's toughness, which likely grew out of difficult circumstances.

"Yeah, definitely, you see that as a player, and his resiliency — it's a great story — and you see that toughness shine through, just the way that he plays," Douglas said. " He's a tough-minded kid now."

The 21-year-old Douglas will come in with a real opportunity to play as a rookie with the Eagles, who don't have a ton of depth at cornerback.

Douglas made it to the NFL, but he's going to make sure he never forgets the tough times he went through.

“Definitely fuels me all the time," Douglas said. "Just thinking about what I went through – practicing on an empty stomach, going to school on an empty stomach and you can’t even focus. So that definitely just makes me want to play all out and hard all the time."

Howie Roseman on Jason Kelce, Mychal Kendricks: 'They're going to be here going forward'

Howie Roseman on Jason Kelce, Mychal Kendricks: 'They're going to be here going forward'

The 2017 NFL draft has come and gone.

And Jason Kelce and Mychal Kendricks are both still Eagles.

The two players, who have been with the team since 2011 and 2012, respectively, have reportedly been on the trade block throughout this offseason. It seemed possible one or both could be moved during the draft, but it didn't happen.

"Yes, they are here and we fully anticipate they're going to be here going forward," Eagles VP of football operations Howie Roseman said Saturday after the draft wrapped up.

Kelce is coming off a Pro Bowl year, but at times last season didn't perform well and the Eagles have Isaac Seumalo waiting to take over. Kendricks was technically a starter last season but played minimally, coming off the field in non-base packages, something he likely wasn't thrilled about.

With the Eagles still in a tight salary cap situation, trading Kelce would save $3.8 million in cap space. Cutting Kendricks would save $1.8 million.

Did teams inquire about the two veterans over the last three days?

"We don't ever talk about trade discussions with any teams, but both those guys have been here in the offseason and they're going to be here going forward," Roseman said.