Predicting the Draft for the next 2 years based off of Cap numbers
Recently there was an article that came out explaining the eagles cap situation and the reason why the eagles have the 5th highest cap space in the league and how that related to Desean Jackson and the future of the Eagles cap situation. Not to divulge to much into the Desean Jackson situation, but he was almost certainly a cap casulty.
According to overthecap.com, in 2015, the eagles currently have the 4th highest cap number at 133 million dollars. Only the Saints at 136 million, the Patriots at 137 million, and the Cardinals at 142 million have higher numbers according to the source.The Eagles have close to 20 million dollars in cap space this year because they plan to role it over to 2015 when they will have the 4th highest dedicated cap space, and according to Philly.com, the 2nd highest. 2015 will also be the contract years of the 2012 rookie draft class plus free agents that includes Nick Foles, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Boykin, Mychal Kendricks, Jeremy Maclin, Cedric Thorton, Bradley Fletcher, Allen Barbre, and Vinny Curry. The cap number for 2015 becomes a record 142 million but with 133 million dollars already locked up the Eagles will need some room to maneuver. This is why I believe with such a wide receiver heavy draft class in 2014, the eagles decided to move on from Desean Jackson. I truly believe they initially intended to trade him this year because teams next year would realize hes just a cap casualty, and I'll show you how.
What I plan to do in this fan post, is map out who the cap casultys could be next year according to cap space which may shed some light into whom the eagles plan to draft this year and positions the eagles might want to draft for the next year down the road.
First thing I think we should look at is players cap numbers for 2015 plus their age so we can target specific players that may be casualties in 2015. After all, smart teams plan ahead, and Howie Roseman strikes me as the type of person that likes to think 2-3 years down the road. When the eagles award someone with a contract, they strategically do so placing cap savings in years where they can get out of certain contracts if they have to maneuver around with other players.
2015 TOP TEN BIGGEST CONTRACTS PLUS OLDEST PLAYERS
top 10 contracts for 2015
1.Lesean McCoy 11.9 million
2.Trent Cole 11.6 million
3.Jason Peters 8.5 million
4.Cary Williams 8.1 million
5.Demeco Ryans 6.8 million
6.Evan Mathis 6.5 million
7.Connor Barwin 6.1 million
8.Malcolm Jenkins 5.6 million
9.Lane Johnson 5.4 million
10.Todd Herremans 5.2 million
Top Ten Oldest Players for 2015
1.Jon Dorenbos currently 33
2.Donnie Jones currently 33
3.Evan Mathis currently 32
4.Jason Peters currently 32
5.Todd Heremans currently 31
6.Trent Cole currently 31
7.Darren Sproles currently 30
8.Demeco Ryans currently 29
9.James Casey currently 29
10.Brent Celek currently 29
10.(tie)Cary Williams currently 29
Process of Elimination for 2015 based on figures above.
Players safe from 2015 trades/releases
Lesean McCoy = young in prime of career
Jason Peters = just signed contract extension this offseason
Connor Barwin = only 27 years old and very productive
Malcolm Jenkins = just signed this offseason
Lane Johnson = coming out of Rookie year
Donnie Johnson = just resigned this year
Darren Sproles = just signed this year
Remainder of Highest Paid Players who could be on chop block for 2015
So that's a total of 8 possible players for 2015 that are in danger of becoming cap casualties factored on top ten highest contract numbers and top ten oldest players that the eagles have. Now I'll examine each of those players contracts for 2015 and 2016 to decide whether or not it makes sense to release them next year to make room for our 2015 free agent class or keep them in 2015.
2015 lowest dead money ranked
1.Demeco Ryans 0 dead money
2.James Casey 0 dead money
3.Brent Celek 0 dead money
4.Jon Dorenbos 200k dead money
5.Cary Willams 1.6 million dead money
6.Evan Mathis 2 million dead money
7.Todd Heremans 2.4 million dead money
8.Trent Cole 3.2 million dead money
2015 highest cap savings ranked
1. Trent Cole 8.4 million savings
2. Demeco Ryans 6.9 million savings
3.Cary Williams 6.5 million savings
4.Brent Celek 4.8 million savings
5.Evan Mathis 4.5 million savings
6.James Casey 4 million saving
7.Todd Herremans 2.8 million savings
8.Jon Dorenbos 870k savings
2016 lowest dead money ranked
1.Cary Williams free agent
2.Demeco Ryans Free Agent
3.James Casey free agent
4.Brent Celek 0 dead money
5.Jon Dorenbos 100k dead money
6.Evan Mathis 1 million dead money
7.Todd Heremans 1.2 million dead money
8.Trent Cole 1.6 million dead money
2016 Highest cap savings ranked
1.Trent Cole 11 million savings
2.Cary Williams free agent (8.1 million
3. Demeco Ryans free agent (6.9 million)
4. Evan Mathis 6 million savings
5.Todd Herremans 5 million savings
6.Brent Celek 5 million savings
7.James Casey free agent (4 million)
8. Jon Dorenbos 985k cap savings
Before we decide who gets cut and who sticks around for 2015, I think its important to take a look at the 2015 free agent draft class and examine what kind of contracts they might command depending on how well they play this year. We also need to keep in mind that even though we have 20 million in cap space right now, we will have to sign our draft class this year which is ussually estimated around 3.9 million dollars which in turn brings down our current cap situation to roughly 16 million dollars. Having 16 million in cap space roll over next year helps considering were projected to have only 9 million in cap space and lets factor in once more another 3.9 million dollars for next years draft class so our total cap space might be around 21.1 million dollars.(which includes the bump up of the league cap number to 142 million. Before we estimate how much next years draft class will cost, I think its also important to keep in mind we need to keep a comfortable cap space for any free agents outside of the ballclub we might intend to sign.
Based upon the success our players had last year and over the course of their career, I will try to give lukewarm estimates of what our free agents for 2015 might command and if we at all have any plans to keep them.
1. Nick Foles - This is a big year for Nick Foles, If he has the success, or even close to the amount of success he had last year he could be in for a big pay day. Chip Kelly doesn't seem completely sold on him and I wouldn't blame Chip for that. If he has a second straight big year, Nick Foles is set for a big pay day. If Chip Kelly isn't sold on Foles, then Chip may be looking for Marcus Mariota in the 2015 draft. For arguement sake, Im going to say Nick Foles has another great year and try to pin down what kind of a contract he might sign in 2015.
Im gonna break down quarterback contracts into tiers. Tier 1 would be superbowl winning quarterbacks. That range would be in the 18 million to 22 million dollar range(granted certain quarterbacks are overpaid, yes Tony Romo, Matt Ryan and Cutler im speaking about you). Tier 2 would be proven veteran quaterbacks that have maintained a long period of success and have got their teams to the playoffs. That range would be in the 11 million to 17 million dollar range. Tier 3 would be young quarterbacks who may be prime to move up into the tier 2 of quarterbacks based on future success or aging proven veterans on the downswing of their careers. That range would be in the 5 million to 10 million dollar range(even though some of the lower numbers are overpaid backups.) I think if Foles can sustain the success he had last year he will be somewhere between a tier 3 and tier 2 contract which would average out to around 11 million dollars a year
Nick Foles projected annual Cap number = 11 million dollars a year (based on continued success)
2. Fletcher Cox- Fletcher Cox is a good player but I wouldn't exactly say hes an elite talent just yet. Hes shown flashes of being a dominant player, but really hasn't sustained it. Add the fact that hes adjusting to a year in a new scheme of defense, I would say Fletcher Cox is a tier 2 defensive end in a 3-4 and should be paid like one. Tier 1 annual salaries go from 8 million to 11 million. Tier 2 3-4 defensive ends are paid in the 4.5 million to 6.6 million dollar range. I think its fair to say Cox will only get better in his second year in a 3-4, but based on his progress from last year I think its fair to say Cox will average around 6 million a year in a new contract.
Fletcher Cox projected annual cap number = 6 million a year
3. Brandon Boykin -This is a tough one. Boykin could be a cap casualty next year. I'd love to keep him and I'm sure Billy Davis would love to also keep him, but how to you pay a slot corner that considers himself to be the best at his position especially when he only saw 51% of defensive snaps last year? Tier 1 outside cornerbacks range from 8 million to 10 million a year with the exception of Revis. I don't think he deserves that for being one of the best slot corners who seems only limited time on the field. Tier 2 cornerbacks go between 5 million and 7 million a year annually. Tier 3 cornerbacks average between 3 million and 5 million. Walter Thurmonds value atm is 3 million a year for the deal he signed and I'd have to think Boykin certainly has more value than Thurmond. This years production and if Billy Davis can find a way to get him on the field more is going to be key. If he has another great year, and they find ways to get him on the field more I think he can fetch roughly 4 million a year.
Brandon Boykin projected annual cap number = 4 million a year
4. Jeremy Maclin - After suffering a huge injury last year, Maclin looks to get back on track this year and should post big numbers in Chips offense if he can stay healthy. If he can have the type of year hes capable of having when healthy I'd have to think hes in for a large pay day as well. Maclin by no means is a tier 1 wide receiver but if he posts strong numbers this year and can prove to stay healthy he should be paid as a strong tier 2 receiver. Tier 1 wide receivers command between 11 million to 16 million a year, too much for JMac. Tier 2 wide receivers get between 5 million to 9 million. I think hes an above average tier 2 wide receiver but his contract shouldn't include a ton of guaranteed money given his injury history. If Maclin agrees to a team friendly contract in regards to injury guarantees, I could see Maclin on average of 7.5 million a year.
Jeremy Maclin projected annual cap number = 7.5 million a year
5. Mychal Kendricks - Kendricks has shown us flashes of being a good player, but I don't think anyone is completely sold on him as of just yet. He's struggled on the outside and has done better on the inside, but hes really going to have to prove himself this year. If we can't get him for the right price next year I could see the Eagles walking away from him. I don't expect a breakout year, but if Kendricks has a solid year, I see his value as a tier 3 inside linebacker as of right now in terms of annual pay. If he has a really good season he could be bumped up into the low end of a tier 2 lienbackers pay. Tier 1 inside linebackers command between 7 to 10 million a year. Tier 2 inside linebackers range from 4 to 6 million a year. Tier 3 linebackers receive between 2 to 4 million a year.
Kendricks projected annual cap number = 3.75 million a year
6. Bradley Fletcher - All around good guy, was a good player last year, hope he can stay healthy again this year. Cary Williams is a free agent in 2016 and 2015 Fletcher is a free agent. Writing seems to be on the wall as far as im concerned. Eagles will most likely try to find his replacement in this years draft and let Fletcher walk in 2015. Cary Williams could be a cap casualty himself in 2015(get to that in a bit) and is a free agent in 2016, so i imagine they draft his eventual replacement in 2015. Small chance they sign him to a cheap short term deal, but I doubt it.
Bradley Fletcher = not resigned
7.Vinny Curry - Vinny Curry could be a stand out, just not in this defense. I'd be shocked if hes still here in August. Eagles should move to trade him during the draft or before mini camps because he is almost certain to not come back to Philly after this season.
Vinny Curry = not resigned/hopefully traded this year
8. Allen Barbre - Allen Barbre is a solid back up. He'll be 30 in 2015 and i could very well see the eagles resigning him if they can get him for a good price. Barbre should receive a back up tier annual pay of about 750k a year which isn't too steep. Either Mathis or Herremans will be gone in 2015, and perhaps both by 2016. Makes sense to keep a back up like Barbre around to help with any growing pains or continuity problems the eagles have while adjusting to new guards.
Allen Barbre projected annual cap number = 750k
9. Cedric Thorton - Thorton did a ok job at defensive end, but I think in 2015 we need to find his replacement. Bennie Logan could very well bump outside if we draft a proper nose tackle. He did a ok job this year, I just don't think we bring him back especially if he is a starter again at LDE for us, hes going to demand starter money. If hes willing to come back on the cheap, I think the eagles would jump at the chance to signing him, but after making 650k as a starter once again this year, hes going to be looking for a significant raise.
Cedric Thorton = not resigned
TOTAL AMOUNT OF SALARY PER YEAR FROM THE 2015 FREE AGENT CLASS THAT WE SIGNED
The players I brought back are pretty realistic of what the eagles intend to do granted they all have continued success this year. The annual salaries i gave them I think are generous but fair and should be relative to the actual contracts they receive from the eagles next year(based on continued success they will have).
2015 Cap Projection Recap
Taking into consideration our rollover number of 16 million(20 million - 3.9 million for our 2014 draft class) and deduct another 3.9 million from it for 2015's draft class as well puts us at roughly 12 million rollover for next year. 133 million is our estimated cap number next year and the leagues cap increases to 142 million which leaves us with 9 million for next year plus the 12 million rollover from last year(both 2014 & 2015 draft class deducted) and gives us roughly 20 million cap space.
2015 total estimated cap space = 20 million (with both 2014 & 2015 draft classes deducted)
2015 free agents resigned total cap number = 33 million dollars
(based on Nick Foles, Jeremy Maclin, Mychal Kendricks, Brandon Boyking, Allen Barbre, Fletcher Cox resignings)
2015 total cap number = 13 million dollars over the cap estimated
Now before everyone starts screaming that signing bonuses will be prorated period of time, and other variables that will help ease the cap number for 2015, I think it starts to make sense of why the Eagles didn't want to restructure Deseans contract because there already facing cap trouble in year 2015. They tried to trade him this year because they thought it was the best shot to get any kind of value for him before he became a cap casualty next year. All this nonsense about gangs and this and that, its all garbage, it was all about cap numbers going forward. But enough of Desean, the eagles face some real cap issues in 2015 and trust me when I say the draft class of 2015 and 2016 is taken into consideration when they go into their war room this May 9th. Good teams like the eagles who always stay competitive year after year don't just look at this years draft class, they also look at their cap number and contracts going forward and that helps paves which way they want to go in this years draft. Example, why did they release desean this year and not next year? Well, Desean would of been a cap casualty next year so they got the dead money of their books and did it because this years draft class is much deeper than next years. Another example, why will the eagles select a cornerback this year? They will select a cornerback this year because Fltecher is a free agent next year and is injury prone and getting older and Cary Williams is slated to become a free agent in 2016. The Nolan Caroll 2 year deal is insurance for next year as a back up for when Fletcher is gone and his air apparent takes over.
So with roughly 13 million dollars over the Cap in 2015 after free agent signings who are the cap casualties?
Most likely wont be as severe as 13 million dollars, because contracts will be prorated, but for arguements sake I just took a annual salary of all the free agent re-signings to make a total for now. Also the eagles will want some money to make free agent signings outside of our resignings so we need to figure out which players will be gone in 2015 to help with our cap number and will be gone most likely in 2016.
2015 players that are cap casulties
1. Demeco Ryans = 0 dead money 6.9 caps savings almost a lock hes gone after this year
2.James Casey = 0 dead money 4 million in cap savings, another lock, good special teams player but not worth it for the money he makes
3.Trent Cole = Eagles might ask him to take a large pay cut, he very well could be back next year if he took a huge pay cut, but I imagine they draft his replacement this year, hes a liability in coverage, and Roseman already stated they want to use Connor Barwin a lot more as a edge blitzer. Don't be suprised if the eagles selected a coverage olb intead of a edge rusher this year. Anyways dead money is a 3.2 million dollars with a cap savings of 8.4 million.
4.Todd Herremans or Evan Mathis = Mathis saw the writing on the wall. Both Mathis and Herremans cap numbers are pretty similar with dead money and cap savings. Im sure Mathis and his agent realizes that one of the two are gone next year and the other is gone in 2016 and wanted to restructure his contract ensuring hes here until at least 2016. Me personally, given that Mathis protects Foles blind side, I'd rather wait till 2016 to release Mathis and not risk loosing the continuity of the left side of the line between Peters and Mathis and get a right guard this year or next year to replace Herremans in 2015. But Roseman has already said they'd be willing to trade him this year because they don't want to restructure. I'm calling Roseman's bluff on this one. Mathis only makes a little more than Herremans and the cap savings and dead money are almost exact. I say the eagles release Herremans in 2015 and keep Mathis till 2016. Releasing Herremans gives 2.4 million in dead money but a cap savings of 2.8 million dollars compared to Mathis dead money of 2 million and cap savings of 4.5 million dollars. You'd save more cap with releasing Mathis, but I'd be shocked if they released Mathis before Herremans, hes a pro bowl caliber player, and when you sign a aging Jason Peters to a extension why would you want to disrupt the left side of the line?
Total Cap Savings by releasing Herremans, Demeco Ryans, T. Cole, and James Casey
frees up 22.1 million dollars with 5.6 million in dead money
22.1 minus 13 million over the cap = 9.1 million dollars in cap space for 2015, and that is already including the draft class of 2015 being signed. so 9.1 of cap space after signing our 2015 free agents and draft class. Having Deseans annual cap number of what 9-11 million a year? would of just put us near or in the red cap wise, so thats why the eagles tried to get value for him this year.
Cap Casualties of 2016
1. Cary Williams = free agent, wont be resigned (clears 8.1 million from the books)
2.Brent Celek = 0 dead money, 5 million savings
3.Evan Mathis = 1 million dead money, 6 million savings
Total Cap Savings By releasing Mathis, Celek, and not resigning Cary Williams in 2016?
1 million in dead money, 19.1 million dollars freed up for 2016
Analysis:The end Game
Someone shared a great quote by Warren Buffet a while back and I'll try to paraphrase it. "Whenever there's a problem in sports, it always involves money" Warren Buffett. I will admit I got caught up in all the Desean Jackson gang rumors, and him missing meetings, and all this and that, but most likely he was released because they wanted to clear his number from the books for next year and this years wide receiver class is very deep. It made perfect sense to try to trade him this year and get something in return because teams knew he could become a cap casualty next year and they would just sit and wait till he was released. Ultimately, the eagles plan backfired on them this year and they were forced to release him without receiving any value, but none the less his cap number of 11 million next year would of put us in the red granted my estimations of 9.1 million being our cap numbers after releases of certain players, signing of two draft classes, and resigning of free agents.
The great take away from looking at contracts and cap numbers is you can start to see how a general manager plans for the future of his team. In this years draft hes thinking about drafting players in which he needs this year but also players to fill holes for the ones who he plans to release next year. You always hear Howie Roseman talk about planning long term, and I believe my examples I've shown today are on par with whats going thru his mind. As a final talking point I will list below the positions the eagles plan to draft this year, next year, and the year after that just based on everything I've broken down today, and I think you'll be able to create a great eagles big board of a list of targets they covet from this year on out.
2014 Eagles draft targets
OLB, Cornerback, Wide Receiver, Inside Linebacker, Nose Tackle, defensive end, offensive guard
(trade Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham)
2015 Eagles Draft Targets
Cornerback, Defensive End, offensive guard, nose tackle(if not this year), safety, inside linebacker
2016 eagles draft targets
tight end, outside linebacker, offensive tackle, safety