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Eagles Free Agents 2015: Which players will be a salary cap casualty?

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Stay or go?

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As the Eagles set their sights on the 2015 offseason, the front office must decide on which players they want to bring back. Philadelphia has ten free agents in total. The team will also need to make some decisions on which players currently under contract can be released in order to save salary cap space. Some players may be able to avoid losing their job by restructuring their deal or taking a pay cut.

According to Over the Cap, the Eagles currently have $20,004,544 in cap space, which ranks 17th. That's not terrible, so they won't need to make desperation moves as if they were in cap hell, but they do have some opportunities to save money.

LeSean McCoy

The 2013 leading rusher didn't quite have a repeat performance in 2014. McCoy may have finished with the third most overall rushing yards but his efficiency was way down. His 4.1 average yards per attempt ranked 24th in the NFL. McCoy's cap number rises to $11,950,000 in 2015, which is the second highest number for any running back. The Eagles absolutely have the cap space to keep him, but it's worth noting he could be released for a savings of $7,550,000. McCoy is aware of his contract situation and knows he might need to restructure in order to stay. Chip Kelly said he wants McCoy back for the 2015 season. Verdict: STAY

Trent Cole

Cole is tied for the longest tenured player on the team. He's only missed a handful of games in his career. It's fair to say he's given the Eagles organization his maximum effort. The problem is that Cole, who turns 33 in October, has a cap number that shoots up to $11,625,000 in 2015. He can be released for a savings of $8,425,000. Cole isn't worth keeping at his current number. The veteran said he's willing to restructure his contract in order to stay, so that is potentially good news for the Eagles. It turns out that Eagles might need to keep Cole depending on how their negotiations go with Brandon Graham, who is scheduled to be a free agent. If the Eagles can't keep Graham, they will need to keep Cole because their only other outside linebackers under contract are Connor Barwin, Marcus Smith II, and Travis Long. Barwin is the only proven player from that bunch. The Eagles can't afford to lose both Graham and Cole, and it appears Graham is willing to test the market. Verdict: Depends on Graham's status

Todd Herremans

Along with Cole, Herremans is tied for the longest tenured veteran on the roster. Herremans was one of the few offensive lineman to stay healthy early in the season before suffering a torn biceps injury that he played through. The team's starting right guard turns 33 in October and will be due $5,200,000 in 2015. Over half of that figure, $2,800,000, can be saved by releasing him. The Eagles don't necessarily have any surefire options to replace Herremans. Matt Tobin is young and showed potential in the preseason but was benched in season for journeyman Andrew Gardner. The savings here aren't too huge so it could make sense to keep the Herrdawg around. Verdict: STAY

Cary Williams

Cary. The much-maligned Eagles corner will turn 31 next December. His 2015 cap figure is $8,166,668. The Eagles can save $6,500,000 by releasing him. Williams is very up and down, but people are going to remember the downs the most. Assuming the Eagles let Bradley Fletcher walk in free agency, which seems like a safe assumption, cutting Williams would mean that the Birds have to replace both of their starting corners for next season. It's not impossible that the Eagles would decide to keep Williams but the smarter bet seems to be that he won't be back. Williams seems pretty indifferent as to whether he'll be back anyway. Verdict: CUT

DeMeco Ryans

This is a tough one. Ryans will turn 31 in July. He's coming off an Achilles injury that he suffered in Week 9 of the regular season. His 2015 cap figure is $6,900,000 and the Eagles can save all of that money with no penalty by cutting him. The problem is that the Eagles don't have a natural replacement to pair with Mychal Kendricks at the inside linebacker position. Emmanuel Acho isn't much more than a backup and the same could be said for Casey Matthews, who is a free agent. Najee Goode could be a name to watch. Ryans' teammates really look up to him as the heart and soul of the defense. Heck, they even call him 'Mufasa.' Eagles nose tackle Bennie Logan could be seen with Ryans' jersey number (#59) painted on his eye black following the injury. It's hard to imagine Ryans having a big market if he were to be cut so the Eagles may have some leverage here. Chip Kelly wants Ryans back in 2015 and that's probably what will happen. Verdict: STAY

James Casey

James Casey's 2015 cap figure is $4,000,000. He can be released with no dead money. It seems like an easy decision for the Eagles that he'll be cut, right? Well, maybe not. Despite lacking any kind of big offensive role (15% offensive snaps played), the Eagles do like to use him as a blocker from time to time. Then there's the fact he's such a good special teams player. He's a big part of why the Eagles special teams unit is the best in the NFL. In 2013, he led Philadelphia in special teams tackles. He finished tied for second in 2014 and also had two blocked punts. The Eagles may be willing to let Trey Burton assume Casey's role moving forward. Burton looked real promising as a rookie despite being undrafted. He played special teams well and showed some offensive potential in the preseason. Burton is a much cheaper option than keeping Casey around. The veteran might be able to stay if he takes a pay cut, however. Verdict: STAY with pay cut

Brent Celek

The veteran tight end is scheduled to earn $4,800,000 in 2015 and can be cut with no dead money. It would be very surprising to see him cut, however. Chip Kelly loves Celek. He isn't much of a pass-catching threat anymore but he is still a very good blocker. Verdict: STAY

Riley Cooper

To the dismay of Eagles fans, Riley Cooper probably won't be going anywhere. His 2015 cap number comes in at $4,800,000 but he costs more to cut than to keep. The Eagles would take a loss of $6,200,000 in dead money by releasing him. Cooper wasn't good at all in 2014 but the Eagles are stuck with him for now. Verdict: Forced to STAY