Right now, the Eagles sit and wait for the draft. Could there be a huge deal in the works for a receiver that the fans covet? Sure, but it seems far more likely that the receiving corps that you presently see will pick up a rookie in the draft at some point and move forward. In all honesty, barring a late veteran signing for depth, if you add some rookies to the current roster, that’s probably what the 2009 team will look like. After handing out a pair of one year contracts to two safeties and a one year deal to Leonard Weaver, we currently sit around $35M under the salary cap. We look at our veritable cornucopia of draft picks (far too many to utilize), put two and two together and come to the conclusion that we must be trading for a marquee player. Add the fact that we recently shipped Greg Lewis to the Patriots and the conclusion is that we must be targeting Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards, right? If not, the only other reason to hold onto all of this cap space is that it just provides more padding for Jeffrey Lurie’s money mattress, right?
To be honest, I’m not too surprised where we sit and that we’re not using all of this cap room that we have; some of my reasoning has to do with the future, but some deals with the present as well. If we take a quick look, our current numbers are as follows:
2009 Salary $ 113.8 Salary Cap $ 127.0 Sub Total $ 13.2 LTBE $ 20.0 Deion Credit $ 1.4 Dead Money $ 2.4 Cap Room $ 32.2
Now, in reality, our current team salary is somewhere around $109M, but I’m going on the premise that we will use both of our first round picks and I’m using a modest estimate that we sign $4.5M worth of rookies this year (and that’s a fairly low figure if we end up signing the 21st and 28th picks). That gets me to the roughly $114M figure for 2009. After we go through all of the steps and collecting our credits and adding in our dead money, we end up with a full roster ready for the season and $32.2M remaining under the cap. I’m fairly confident that we’ll be somewhere in that range when all is said and done (plus or minus $2M).
So why aren’t we spending? Well one of the answers is actually starring you in the face in the 2009 data. When the Eagles have seen a player they truly wanted, they had no problem spending to get him (Kearse, Runyan, Samuel, attempt at Moss, etc). What has always given us that flexibility? The fact that we have engineered a steady stream of "Likely To Be Earned" credit is the main reason. Each year we’ve had a fairly decent amount of cap money to spend; not too much, not too little, but it has always been vastly increased by LTBE credit that is passed forward from the previous year. Look at 2009; almost $20M that we are able to spend. Well that all goes away for 2010. Additionally, we need to worry about resigning some key players and will probably look to address some of the 2010 class as well. Let’s take a look and do some estimation.
No one can predict what the 2010 cap number will be; especially since it hinges on whatever new CBA is put into place. Initial estimates for the Eagles’ 2010 salary right now are in the area of $114M to the players that are currently on the roster that will be in 2010. We should also estimate the 2010 earnings of the 2009 rookies (the ones that should make around $4.5M in 2009), and I think a fair estimate of that would be around $7M. Just by contract progression, the 2010 salary is already $7M higher than the 2009 salary. This doesn’t take into account the 13 free agents that will need to be dealt with after the 2009 season. That’s right… 13 spots on the roster will need to be filled, and we’re probably going to want to keep some of these guys.
Out of these 13 RFAs/UFAs, the ones I’m worried about retaining are Avant, Giles, Gocong, and Weaver. I don’t think it would be unreasonable for this group, who is going to collectively make about $5.5M in 2009, to make at least $9M collectively in 2010. We’re now collectively +$10.5M above the 2009 salary. There are also 4 players that will be FAs after the 2010 season that will probably be approached about extensions after the 2009 season; namely Mikell, Bradley, Celek, and Abiarmiri. For the 2009 season, this group will collectively earn about $4M. These guys aren’t making much at all. If we were to extend these four players, would it be all that surprising for their collective salary to jump to $14M in 2010? I don’t think so. After another year of across the board salary increases and free agent signings increasing market value, I could very easily see Celek making $2M, Abiarmiri making $3M, Mikell making $3.5M and Bradley $5M. We’re now +$20.5M above our 2009 salary.
If our 2009 salary is roughly $114M and we add the estimated $20.5M, we end up at $134.5M. The 2009 salary cap increased from $116M to $127M, so let’s make a rough estimate and say the 2010 cap will be $142M. So everything looks good right? We resigned the players we wanted and we extended our talented youth for the foreseeable future right? With $7.5M to spare! So why didn’t we spend more this offseason? Well, in our scenario, we still have 9 spaces on the roster to fill with that $7.5M.