2017 Eagles Cost Analysis, OG: An embarrassment of riches

2017 Eagles Cost Analysis, OG: An embarrassment of riches

Two offseasons ago, starting offensive guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans were cut by the Eagles in the same offseason, with no real plan to replace either one of them. After years of neglecting the position in the draft, the club was down to a couple of journeymen and some projects that weren't really working out. Allen Barbre. Andrew Gardner. Dennis Kelly. Matt Tobin.

Yet remarkably enough, guard has rapidly become an area of great strength for the Eagles, thanks to a renewed interest in the position. Barbre surprisingly panned out, which certainly helped speed up the rebuild, while the front office went out and signed veterans Brandon Brooks and Stefan Wisniewski, then invested a third-round draft pick in Isaac Seumoalo.

The best part: three of those four players are under contract for 2017, and two of them carry a cap hit under $2 million. Even if the Eagles do nothing, they are in great shape here.

At the very least, a decision must be made on Wisniewski, who is set to become a free agent again — that is assuming he doesn't make it for them. Teams weren't exactly beating down Wisniewski's door last offseason, which is why the Eagles were able to swoop in with a one-year deal, but it's a little strange. He's a solid interior lineman that can also play center and has five years of starting experience in the NFL. You would think he can fill a need somewhere.

If the Eagles can have Wisniewski back as a reserve, it might be a no-brainer. He doubles as a high-quality backup to Jason Kelce, plus Barbre has only the upcoming season remaining on his deal and is getting up there in years. Cost becomes an issue, as Wisniewski did not come cheap, but with six starts in 2016, there was some bang for the buck.

Or, if the Eagles really wanted to be competitve, they could accelerate Barbre's demise and entice Wisniewski with the promise of more work. The club stands to save all but $150,000 on the final year of Barbre's contract if he were to get the axe or is traded, money that could be put toward the younger alternative. That potentially opens up a job for Wisniewski at left guard, although Seumalo obviously is in the mix as well.

There's a reasonable possibility Wisniewski generates more interest on the open market this time around, so with Brooks locked in at right guard and Seumalo waiting in the wings, the Eagles wouldn't be a very attractive option. That's a nice problem to have, though.

OFFENSIVE GUARDS UNDER CONTRACT

Brandon Brooks
Age: 28*
Cap Number: $7,200,000

Money well spent. According to Pro Football Focus, Brooks scored the fifth-highest cumulative overall grade of any offensive guard in the NFL in 2016. Yet in terms of money, eight guards currently carry a higher cap hit for next season, so while he came at a high price, Brooks is paying dividends thus far. There is the matter of Brooks unexpectedly missing two games with issues related to anxiety, but he vowed to get that squared away, so hopefully it's not a problem going forward. As long as he's healthy, Brooks was quietly the best free-agent addition by the Eagles in 2016, a 6-foot-5, 335-pound mauler who should be around for a long time.

Allen Barbre
Age: 33*
Cap Number: $1,950,000

Barbre doubles as a swing tackle, starting three games at right tackle in '16, though he's much better inside. Still, that versatility alone might be enough to give the Eagles pause about about trying to save $1.8 million this offseason. As it turns out, Barbre is actually a pretty good guard, too, earning the 22nd-highest cumulative grade from Pro Football Focus for this past season. With all of that in mind, a case could be made the Eagles are getting a steal here. The real question is whether they should think about extending his contract, although that might be unnecessary with Seumalo in the fold.

Isaac Seumalo
Age: 24*
Cap Number: $764,966

Barbre isn't the only person who can kick out to tackle in a pinch. Brooks has done it in the past as a member of the Texans, and Seumalo lined up on the outside just this year. The rookie didn't embarrass himself, either, no matter what position he was playing. There's little question the Eagles view Seumalo as the left guard of the future, which could be 2017 if they let Wisniewski walk and part ways with Barbre as well. One departure might happen, but probably not both, as it would unnecessarily create a depth issue at guard. Still, the franchise has to be thinking very highly of Seumalo right now, so much so that you wonder if he'll get a chance to compete for a starting job even assuming Barbre remains.

Dillon Gordon
Age: 24*
Cap Number: $540,000

An undrafted free agent out of LSU, Gordon initially made the 53-man roster out of training camp, indicating the Eagles really liked him and wanted to protect him from the first run of waiver-wire pickups. He was eventually moved to the practice squad, then reactivated at the end of the season once injuries mounted, seeing the field for a grand total of two snaps. While listed at 6-4, 322 pounds, Gordon seems smaller than that, but maybe that's because he's so agile. Coach Doug Pederson was giving him a look as a part-time fullback during camp.

Darrell Greene
Age: 25*

Greene reportedly received a rather large bonus to sign with the Eagles as a rookie out of San Diego State, though wound up being passed on the depth chart by Gordon. Still, Greene was retained on the scout team and signed a future contract at the conclusion of the season, so he's being viewed as a prospect. Obviously, the front office will add more competition, but between the two of these guys, they can afford to lose a veteran.

EXPIRING CONTRACTS

Stefan Wisniewski
Age: 28*
2016 Cap Number: $2,760,000

Wisniewski had a higher cap hit as a backup in '16 than Barbre did as a starter, which is yet another complicating factor in a potential re-signing. The idea initially was Wisniewski would battle for the job, but a competition never materialized, and he became a highly paid reserve instead. Now if there are injuries, particularly to Kelce at center, he quickly becomes worth every penny, and he was. Regardless, the debate will be taken out of the Eagles' hands if Wisniewski catches on as a starter somewhere. Kind of a shame, but this is a situation where you probably can't keep everybody.

* Age as of 12/31/17

Pete Rose says Bryce Harper's style of play would work well in Philadelphia

Pete Rose says Bryce Harper's style of play would work well in Philadelphia

Earlier this month Vegas put some pretty decent odds on Washington Nationals' star Bryce Harper landing with the Phillies in free agency when 2019 rolls around.

Our very own Mike Murphy made a pretty decent case for it: championship contention, boatloads of money, hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, etc. The Phillies and Haper do make some sense.

And then today on 97.5 The Fanatic's midday show with Rob Ellis, after discussing the loss of Phillies' legend Dallas Green, former Phillies great and MLB hit king Pete Rose weighed in on the prospect of Harper joining the Phillies.

Rose was asked if he thinks Harper would fit in well in Philly.

"Yes, because he plays hard," Rose said.

"Trout would be a good player in Philadelphia," he added. "It seems like all the great players in MLB today -- the superstars -- they all play hard. It's hard to be a great player today and not play hard. Because people aren't stupid. People are watching you on a nightly basis." 

"If you don't play hard, don't go to Philadelphia. That's gonna be the wrong place for you to play. And that's a credit to the fans in Philadelphia."

Rose also believes the Phillies have a man at the top who is willing to make a big splash in order to win.

"Mr. Middleton will spend whatever you need to win. I love John Middleton. He's a great owner. I would have loved to play for him because he's not stingy with his checkbook."

"You have to have somebody who knows what parts of the puzzle to give the money to. You don't have to rebuild, you have to add two or three ingredients to your situation so you can win."

Rose will have a chance to get on the Phillies Wall of Fame, so you will likely be hearing more from him this summer.

Alshon Jeffery turned to Adam Schefter before signing with Eagles ... or did he?

Alshon Jeffery turned to Adam Schefter before signing with Eagles ... or did he?

Updated: 7:50 p.m.

The casual sports fan probably thinks media guys like Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski and ESPN's Adam Schefter are wizards. They're not. They just work really, really hard at what they do and have come as close to mastering their trade as seems possible.

Much of how they do exactly what they do is a mystery, but thanks to a very interesting piece in Sports Illustrated's MMQB, we're given a glimpse behind the curtain of Schefter's wizardry.

MMQB's Tim Rohan was given amazing access to mirror Schefter during his biggest day of the year: the first day of NFL free agency.

It's a fascinating portrait of a guy who is working at all times. ESPN has prevented him from driving a car because it wants him to be able to access his phone freely -- and safely -- at all times.

Schefter is basically an information dealer. Acquiring information, providing information, and telling the public about information when the time is right. The last part is tricky, but as Schefter explains it, years of experience have taught him how to interpret certain sticky situations.

One of the anecdotes of particular interest to Philadelphia Eagles fans involved free-agent wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who reportedly reached out to Schefter shortly after 11 a.m. on that day.

In the middle of Schefter’s flurry of calls, Alshon Jeffery (49 Markman points) rings him, wanting to know how much money the other free-agent receivers are making. Players sometimes contact Schefter with questions like this because he likely has that information even if he hasn’t reported it, as is the case here. Indeed, as they talk Schefter receives a text saying that Torrey Smith will be signing with the Eagles.

Schefter goes through the contract numbers on Smith, Jackson and Pierre Garçon, slowly, so Jeffery can apparently write them down. “It’s all about the guarantee, Alshon,” Schefter says. “It’s all about the guarantee … Your average per year could be $100 million. It doesn’t matter. If they’re going to guarantee you the majority of the contract, that’s what you want.”

Schefter asks where Jeffery is going. Jeffery doesn’t have an answer yet. Schefter asks that Jeffery notify him when he does make a decision and leaves the conversation at that.

The article goes on to explain that Schefter often provides information to people in hopes of receiving information back, first -- the scoop. But later in the day, a different reporter breaks the Jeffery-to-the-Eagles deal.

Details of that interaction were news to just about everyone ... including Jeffery. The new Eagles wide receiver tweeted out a response to that claim.

Regardless, the story paints the picture of a hard-working reporter who has mastered the art of juggling people and cell phones.

>>24 Hours... with Adam Schefter [MMQB]