Mwanga, Union Earn a Road Point in COL

Mwanga, Union Earn a Road Point in COL

We were eager to see how the Union would follow-up their best-ever scoring effort on the road in the Colorado altitude, and overall, they didn't disappoint, earning a 1-all tie against the Rapids. It would have been more encouraging to see a W and possibly another multi-goal game, but the biggest take-home from this one was the Union's composure in going hard for a goal after conceding the opening tally on a second-half PK.

Danny Califf took a penalty in the box, tugging the shoulder of Colorado's Pablo Mastroeni just hard enough to give Mastroeni cause to hit the turf and draw a call. Conor Casey took the PK and chipped it at the center of the goal as Faryd Mondragon went to his right. I didn't like Casey much before that, and I like him even less now.

But the Union weren't going to let that wilt them, and they soon answered with a gorgeous goal by Danny Mwanga from distance.

Mwanga was a sub on Saturday night, allowing for Jack McInerney to start his first ever match for the Union. Jack Mac had some fine plays in the first half, which isn't a surprise given how he's played as a sub to date. With Carlos Ruiz playing with Guatemala, the Union aren't necessarily any lighter in scoring. Mwanga came on fresh in the 58th minute and less than 10 minutes later had cause to run to embrace his coach.  [Full Highlights below]

Both goalies had impressive showings, with Rapids keeper Matt Pickens in particular having a few amazing stops. In the 17th minute, he cut off a dangerous Jack Mac attempt off a Justin Mapp header pass. Later in the half, McInerney fed a precision pass up to Le Toux, but Pickens again closed off the space in the box and snuffed it out. Full marks to the bearded Rapids keeper.

Keon Daniel missed perhaps the game's best opportunity, skying a brilliant leading feed from Gabe Farfan in close. Daniel did play well overall again though, coming on as a sub for Justin Mapp and running the field from end to end, factoring into Mwanga's set-up too.

MAPP QUEST
Mapp came out with what looked like a groin injury, pulling up as he streaked up the sideline and putting his arm up to call for a sub. Mapp had been looking good in his follow-up effort after earning MLS Player of the Week honors, but the Rapids were putting a beating on him, and his night didn't last long. Hopefully the rest will get him back out there soon, because his emergence has energized the Union's midfield efforts lately.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS


HOME IS WHEREVER I'M WITH THE U
Lots of empty seats in Colorado, which is unfortunate given that they're the reigning MLS Cup champions and the first-place club from the other conference was in town. For the good of the league, no matter who you root for, you want to see full stadiums, but it's a reminder of how good we already have it down at PPL Park.

The Union come home to host Real Salt Lake next Saturday.

Photo via the Union's Facebook gallery.

Mike Trout wins Eagles-Cowboys bet forcing friend to look ridiculous

Mike Trout wins Eagles-Cowboys bet forcing friend to look ridiculous

Mike Trout sure does win a lot when the Eagless beat the Cowboys.

Not only did the Los Angeles Angels outfielder get a touchdown ball from Carson Wentz during the Eagles win over the Cowboys to cap off the season, but he also won a bet on the game with a friend.

Turns out, Wentz had some sort of bet with DJ Cottrell, whose Twitter profile says he is from Trout's hometown of Millville, NJ. Cottrell is likely a Cowboys fan and came up on the losing end.

"The fact I have to wear an entire Eagles uniform to the gym for a week is going to be the death of me," he Tweeted on Tuesday.

Then he posted a photo of himself in the ridiculous football uniform while posing alongside Trout.

It's good to be Mike Trout. Not so much a Dallas Cowboys fan these days.

[via Cut4]

 

Eagles to receive just under $8 million in salary cap carryover for 2017

Eagles to receive just under $8 million in salary cap carryover for 2017

The Eagles are getting salary cap help. Just not quite as much as they expected.  

The NFL Players Association announced the official 2017 salary-cap carryover figures on Wednesday, and the Eagles will receive $7,933,869 in extra cap space this coming year on top of the unadjusted salary cap figure that every team begins the offseason with.

The NFL’s official 2017 salary cap figure hasn’t yet been announced, but it’s expected to be somewhere in the $166 to $170 million range, up from a record-$155.3 million in 2016.

Under terms of the CBA, teams can receive credit in each year’s salary cap for cap space that went unused the previous season. This creates an adjusted cap figure that can vary by tens of millions of dollars per team.

The Eagles under former team president Joe Banner were the first to use this once-obscure technique in the late 1990s. Today, every team uses it to some extent.

The more carryover money a team gets, the more it has to spend relative to the combined cap figures of players under contract the coming year.

The NFLPA originally estimated in the fall that the Eagles would receive $8.25 million in carryover money, so the new figure is about $316,000 less than originally expected.

It’s also the ninth-highest of the 32 teams, although below the average of $9.18 million. That’s because the top few carryover figures are so much ridiculously higher than the average (Browns $50.1 million, 49ers $38.7 million, Titans $24.0 million).

According to salary cap data tracker Spotrac, the Eagles have 52 players under contract for 2017 with a total combined cap figure of $158,040,710.

With an $168 million unadjusted cap, the Eagles would have an adjusted cap figure of $175,933,869.

They have $7,055,933 in dead money, mainly from trading Sam Bradford ($5.5 million) and Eric Rowe ($904,496) but also from departed players such as Andrew Gardner ($250,000), Josh Huff ($138,986) and Blake Countess ($98,678).

Subtract the 2017 contract obligations – the $158,040,710 figure – along with the dead money – the $7,055,033 figure – and that leaves the Eagles with roughly $10.84 million in cap space.

That figure may not include some 2016 bonuses that have not yet been made public. And it doesn’t include, for example, a $500,000 pay raise Peters got by triggering a contract escalator.

So that reduces the $10.84 million figure to $10.34 million.

From there, about $4 ½ million or so will go to the 2017 rookie pool.

So that leaves the Eagles currently with somewhere in the ballpark of $6 million in cap space.

Now, the Eagles will obviously be able to increase that number by releasing players.

They would more than double their cap space just by releasing Connor Barwin, who has a $8.35 million cap number but would cost only $600,000 in dead money for a cap savings of $7.75 million.

Jason Peters ($9.2 million), Jason Kelce ($3.8 million), Ryan Mathews ($4 million), Leodis McKelvin ($3.2 million) and Mychal Kendricks ($1.8 million) would also clear large amounts of cap space.

So for example by releasing Barwin, Kelce, McKelvin and Mathews, they would increase their cap space by a whopping $18.75 million. 

Of course, then the Eagles have to think about replacing those players with cheaper versions while still trying to build a playoff roster.

Whatever happens, the Eagles are in a unique position as they enter the 2017 offseason, with far less cap flexibility than other years.

“Yeah, it's unusual, certainly since I've been here, to have a more challenging situation,” vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said earlier this month.

“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.”