This may not come across in the exact tone I want it to, especially given my FP from last week about how there is a logical position between both extremes of Eagles fans (the Negadelphians and the Kool-Aid Drinkers), but I am going to post it anyway and if my message is lost because some think I am being negative for the sake of being negative, oh well. You probably would think that no matter how I toned this message.
After witnessing the DET game, the epitome of a snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory game if I have ever seen one, I have to admit that my pendulum has swung forcefully toward the Negadelphia viewpoint, as I am sure as happened to some of you as well. Hopefully, it swings back the other way in 2 weeks against ATL.
So I got to thinking (which is almost never a good thing); What is this team going to look like next year if the proverbial shit keeps hitting the proverbial fan and Big Red can't get this team's collective head out of it's collective ass?
Let's take a look, because we could be watching the demise of an otherwise outstanding era of Eagles football. (That is, if an era can be considered outstanding without a SB victory on it's resume, but that is a discussion for another FP. What one cannot argue is that Reid's tenure with the Eagles has been the most successful era of modern Eagles football, and it isn't even close. And for those who want to argue Buddy Ryan, go look at his won-loss record and playoff record, then come at me.)
Before I get into it, I just want to reiterate that I care less about who the individual players are and more about this team winning. I am an Eagles fan, so as long as the Eagles win, I am impartial as to who is wearing the uniform when it happens. I want the Eagles to win every year, and this year is no exception.
Now, for this FP, I am assuming that Lurie sticks to what he said last year in that an 8-8 record is unacceptable. I am going to take that one step farther and say that if we aren't in the playoffs (even if we are 10-6 or 9-7 and get squeezed out in the last weekend), Big Red is getting canned. And so are most, if not all, of his assistants. So, for the sake of this post, someone else will be coaching this team next year.
As has been noted, especially with the all-of-a-sudden revelation by the NFL that Vick's contract wasn't a true $100M deal, or at least one that we couldn't get out from under if we so desired, the Eagles are $17M and change over the cap for next year. So, something has to give for next year, regardless of how we do this year. We could go on to win the SB this year and the cap situation would still have to be dealt with.
(It should be noted that I am no capologist, and I don't even play one on tv. I am using info from this website and my football knowledge to formulate my conclusion. I am sure that there are subtleties to the cap and the cap situation that I am missing or just don't know about, but for the most part, I think I am pretty accurate. For instance, I know we can carry over cap space from this year to next, but I don't know all of the specifics about it and for the sake of simplicity, I am going to disregard that for now. Odds are that we will carry over a healthy chunk of our cap space this year, but who knows how much.)
So, after 500+ words of babbling, let me get to the point of this FP.
I believe there are at least 4 players on this year's team who will not be in an Eagles uniform next year (I am going to list there remaining salary figures next to them)
2013 2014 2015 2016
Vick 17.9 16.9 17.9 20
Bell 9.6 6.1 7.1 8.35
Babin 4.42 6.20
Patterson 4.00 4.8 5.6 6.35
Releasing, or trading, these 4 guys will free up $35M+ next year, putting us comfortably under the cap. Also, outside of resident asshat and overall douche bag Babin, each of these guys has 4 year remaining which means that we are creating room in upcoming years as well. I don't have the specifics on any "dead money" that would carryover, but most of the Eagles contracts are front-loaded specifically so that they can cut a guy and not lose much, if any cap space as a result.
We have 48 guys signed through next year, 44 if these guys do indeed get cut. Meaning we would have to add 9 players. Also, we are already one of the youngest teams in the league, and all 4 guys I bring up are older, somewhat established vets.
There are a few other guys who could be axed as well;
Jenkins (he seems to have regressed greatly from last year, but is extremely affordable, even if it is as a backup, and is a guy who has won a SB already and they are good guys to have in the locker room)
Nnamdi (even though he just came off his best game as an Eagle, he is slated to receive almost $40M over the next 3 years and has already shown difficulty with covering speedy receivers)
Herremans, Mathis and Cole aren't exactly living up to the extensions they just signed, but I doubt that they would be let go. At least, not next year.
My long winded point is that at the start of TC next year, we could see an entirely new coaching staff, a new starting QB (or starting caliber QB to backup Foles) and some new faces replacing some older guys who have been around for a few years. Things could look really different in Lehigh if the Big Red era does come to an end.