For Once Talent- Not Money- Could Win Out At Lehigh

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 16: Quarterback Rex Grossman #8 of the Washington Redskins is sacked by defensive tackle Mike Patterson #98 of the Philadelphia Eagles during first half action at FedExField on October 16, 2011 in Landover, Maryland.. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

When Joe Banner stepped down just under a month ago, he said that his role on the team had diminished over the past year, and Howie Roseman has been the one taking care of the contracts.

If that's the case, a quick look at the Eagles payroll shows Roseman has been doing a great job so far.

Going into Lehigh, the Eagles have very few players who stick out as overpaid. Michael Vick and Nnamdi Asomugha are the only players set to make over $10 million this season, while other key starters on the team- such as LeSean McCoy or Evan Mathis- are making very cap friendly salaries of just around $2 million. Only 7 players on the roster are set to make over $5 million dollars this season, and the vast majority have a cap number that is right around $1 million dollars.

The balanced payroll is going to have a big factor in the cuts this year at Lehigh, as there are very few cap casualties on the roster. Every year players battling to keep a job have to outplay the player behind them and the contract they signed. Unlike past years when it's been clear that some players are making too much money to remain on the roster, that is not the case this year.

The positions that everyone expects to have the most competition- linebacker, corner-back, safety, and quarterback- are all very balanced in terms of salary. No player other then DeMeco Ryans at linebacker makes over $1 million. At corner-back, if you take out the clear starters (Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), the players are all separated by less then $500,000. Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards have a cap difference just $110,000.

What makes this even more impressive is that the Roseman, Banner and Andy Reid have put together one of the most talented rosters in the league- and are still 3rd in the league in available cap space ($18.02 million).

But if Roseman really wanted to penny pinch in honor of his mentor Banner, 3 names that would come to the top of the list are Mike Patterson, Darryl Tapp and Brandon Graham. On the surface it's hard to imagine the Eagles letting either Graham or Patterson go, but it's not inconceivable.

Graham is set to make $2.5 million this year, which is $1.5 million more then the combined salaries of Vinny Curry and Phillip Hunt- 2 players who figure to see more playing time then Graham. The Eagles will clearly give Graham every chance to make the team, given his status as a former 1st round pick. But if he is outplayed by Curry and Hunt significantly in camp, the Eagles could save money and part ways with Graham. Tapp ($2.5 million) has been a productive player for the Eagles, and could be kept on for his veteran leadership, but is the most likely out of the 3 to be cut.

Patterson holds a higher salary then Graham or Tapp, as he is set to make just over $4 million this season. Patterson's main competition for a roster spot is going to be Antonio Dixon and Cedric Thornton. Thornton played very well last year when he got on the field, and Dixon was thought of by many as one of the best DT's on the team before he went down early last season.

But other then those battles, Andy Reid will really be able to construct this team how he wants without worrying about the cap. This is just another sign that Reid will have his fingerprints on this team perhaps more then any other team he has coached since he arrived. It should make what many see as his last chance to win a Super Bowl in Philadelphia one he will have complete control over.

And it should also make for one competitive, great training camp.

Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks

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