For all the criticism Eagles general Howie Roseman has received in the past, there's always one thing he's done very well: manage the Eagles salary cap. Year in and year out the Eagles are typically in good shape when it comes to being under the cap. This spending money gives the Eagles the power they need to re-sign their own players while also bringing in talent via free agency. This year is no different.
A look at this table from Over The Cap shows the Eagles have an estimated $20,085,737 cap space heading into this NFL offseason. That number is slightly higher at EaglesCap.com, but still in the same ball park at $20,528,365. Either way, this number is the 10th highest in the NFL. The Eagles are one of four 2013 playoff teams with the most cap space. This number can (and likely will) change before NFL free agency starts on March 11, 2014.
(*Phillip Hunt is a restricted free agent. Cedric Thornton is an exclusive-rights free agent, which means he isn't going anywhere.)
The Eagles could opt to negotiate new deals with these players before free agency starts. At the same time, the player(s) have to be willing to forgo testing the free agent market. The Eagles can also use the franchise tag designation on one of these ten players starting Feburary 17th. Re-signing players will obviously lower the Eagles cap number.
Something that can/will lower the Eagles cap number are cuts. Some players could be cap causalities, meaning their salary is too high to justify their production on the field. See how much money the Eagles can save by cutting certain players here. Other players may be asked to take a pay cut or have their current contract restructured. Signing Eagles players who are already under contract to new extensions could potentially free up more money in the short-term.
The bottom line here is that the Eagles will have room to operate as they please. The team has some internal decisions to make (ex: Maclin, Cooper) but they will also to look to bring in talent via free agency. The Eagles 2013 free agent class yielded positive results due to the strategy of signing undervalued players with something to prove to reasonable contracts. 2014's free agent class features some big name players at position of need, such as Jairus Byrd, T.J. Ward, Brian Orakpo, and more. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles look to make a major splash, stick to their 2013 approach, or mix and match.
I'd be remiss to note that the team with the least amount of cap space heading into the offseason is... the Dallas Cowboys. They're actually over the salary cap by a whopping $24,614,943. The Cowboys will be able to get under the cap by shedding hefty contracts but their spending power will be limited.
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