Where Do The Eagles Stand: Roster Construction, Salary Cap, 2021 Compensatory Picks

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Nearly one week has passed since the new CBA was passed and teams began making a flurry of roster moves.

With no other sports having any sort of normalcy to them, it was a welcome sight for sports fans to follow the moves throughout the NFL.

While many big-ticket free agents have found new homes and many trades have already taken place and blockbuster deals have been made, there are still players out there.

Players like Everson Griffen, Robby Anderson and Prince Amukamara remain unsigned while some teams are still holding onto some players available for trade like Yannick Ngakoue.

So where do the Eagles stand this offseason?

Roster Construction

The Eagles returned a back-up quarterback, two safeties and a defensive tackle. They also made big splashes with the additions of another elite defensive tackle and the acquisition of a true CB1. They then added another versatile CB/S to the roster as well as a low-risk, high-reward linebacker.

So what do they need?

The Eagles moves have given them a starter at essentially every position in the secondary and given them a ton of depth at defensive tackle. Their defensive end rotation currently has six options. That leaves the only glaring whole on the defensive side as linebacker, but with how the team has treated the position, the addition of Brown might be their only signing there.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Eagles lost depth on the offensive line and have yet to address the receiver position.

Overall, the Eagles could stand to upgrade some positions, but the only big needs are linebacker and receiver.

Philadelphia will likely look to the deepest receiver draft that’s ever been seen to address receiver and, from the Eagles’ standpoint where they don’t really value the position, they may not see any issues with their linebacker room.

This puts the Eagles in a position where they can be patient and don’t necessarily need to add anything to the roster in free agency. Essentially, they can look for bargains. If the prices drop on someone like Robby Anderson, Prince Amukamara, Josh Bynes, or perhaps even former Eagles like Peters, the Eagles could very well be making a call.

As for their additions, the Eagles have added two difference makers who the team views as longer-term building blocks. Hargrave is a young player just entering his prime and figures to be around for the duration of his contract and perhaps beyond while Slay figures to be with the Eagles for the next few seasons and potentially beyond depending on his performance on the back end of his current deal.

With new and younger building blocks in the secondary and on the defensive line, the Eagles are setting up for another run at a championship.

Salary Cap

How much cap room do the Eagles have?

That is a difficult question to answer because many of the Eagles new contracts are not available.

Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports reported the numbers on the Hargrave deal and the Mills deal while The Athletic’s Zach Berman reported on McLeod’s deal, Mike Kaye reported on Will Parks’ deal and OverTheCap has Nate Sudfeld’s deal.

No exact cap hits have been given for the first year of McLeod’s deal, Hassan Ridgeway’s contract or the signing of Jatavius Brown. Taking half of McLeod’s salary and replicating Sudfeld’s deal for Ridgeway will help to get a reasonable estimate. For Brown, putting in a little over a minimum deal seems likely for how the Eagles like to address the position. This will also assume that Slay’s extension does not affect his 2020 cap hit from the deal he already had.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Tim McManus reports that Brown’s deal is worth $910,000, the minimum in 2020. The table has been updated to reflect this as has the compensatory pick table.

Eagles 2020 Salary Cap Transaction Table

Transaction Salary Change New Cap Space
Cap Space as of March 15, 2020 $36.4M
Decline Malcolm Jenkins’ Option -$4.8M $41.2M
Sign Javon Hargrave +$3.6M $37.6M
Re-Sign Nate Sudfeld +$2M $35.6M
Acquire Darius Slay +$13.4M $22.2M
Re-Sign Hassan Ridgeway +$2M* $20.2M
Re-Sign Jalen Mills +$4M $16.2M
Re-Sign Rodney McLeod +$4.3M* $11.9M
Sign Will Parks +$1.6M $10.3M
Sign Jatavis Brown +$0.9M $9.4M

* – Indicates number is an estimate

As the table shows, the Eagles have somewhere around $9 million in cap space at the moment, though McLeod’s cap hit is likely lower in the first year than in the second.

That allows the Eagles space for their draft picks and for any mid-season additions as well as maybe a bargain deal or two.

Oddly, the Eagles have not had any reports of restructures or contract extensions this offseason with their only moves clearing any cap space being the release of Malcolm Jenkins and the declining of Nigel Bradham’s option.

The Eagles could clear some cap space with a new deal for someone like Zach Ertz or Fletcher Cox. They could also look to move Alshon Jeffery in a trade after June 1 to free up nearly $10 million, but that isn’t exactly a feasible option outside a team looking to compete that loses a few receivers early in preseason – and the Eagles might not hold onto Jeffery that long anyway. They could trade him prior to June 1 to save a bunch of cap space for the 2021 season and lose just a bit of space this season.

Compensatory Picks

The Eagles were not planning on this being a year they focused on compensatory picks, instead focusing on adding some long-term building blocks.

The addition of high-priced, young defensive tackle Javon Hargrave was just that and it will essentially eliminate the top compensatory pick that the Eagles would otherwise qualify for.

Aside from that, the Eagles have only re-signed their own players and traded for Darius Slay, none of which factors into the compensatory pick formula.

On the other side of the formula, the Eagles have lost Big V, Jordan Howard, Nelson Agholor and Kamu Grugier-Hill. At this point, the Eagles figure to benefit from at least one additional compensatory picks in the 2021 draft, though any they get won’t be as valuable as those that allowed the Eagles to acquire Slay this offseason.

My guess would be that Agholor’s contract qualifies at or above the same level as Parks to give the Eagles a second pick and that Brown’s deal doesn’t qualify for the formula.

The team could be further benefactors of the formula if free agents Jason Peters, Vinny Curry, Ronald Darby and Tim Jernigan sign qualifying deals, but Peters and Curry would seem to be the only two that have any chance of signing a deal with a high average annual value, likely on short-term deals. Jernigan’s injury history will likely prevent him receiving any major offer.

UPDATE: Dave Zangaro report that Nelson Agholor’s deal is worth just over $1 million, which would not qualitfy for a pick at this time.

2020 Eagles Compensatory Pick Chart

Free Agents Lost
Free Agents Gained
New Team
Previous Team
OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai Detroit Lions $10M 4 DT Javon Hargrave Pittsburgh Steelers $13M 3
RB Jordan Howard Miami Dolphins $4.9M 6
LB Kamu Grugier-Hill Miami Dolphins $3M 7
WR Nelson Agholor Las Vegas Raiders $1M DNQ S/CB Will Parks Denver Broncos $1.6M DNQ
LB Jatavis Brown Los Angeles Chargers $0.9M DNQ
OT Jason Peters Unsigned
CB Ronald Darby Unsigned
DE Vinny Curry Unsigned
DT Tim Jernigan Unsigned

Round estimates via OverTheCap

It should be noted that OverTheCap currently has Park’s contract not qualifying for a pick, but with free agency not over yet, an influx of minimal deals could push him up into qualifying as a seventh-round gain and eliminate an additional pick.

The deals of Agholor and Brown could both change things, as well. If Brown qualifies and Agholor doesn’t, the Eagles would be down to one pick. If the opposite holds true, the Eagles could be in line for three additional picks in the 2021 draft.

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