The Philadelphia Eagles have been spending a lot of money recently. The team has clearly been committed to signing their young players to long-term contract extensions. Despite this spending spree, the Eagles are in relatively good shape when it comes to the salary cap due to the structure of these new deals. The Eagles might not be done spending yet, though. Fletcher Cox is reportedly in line for a contract worth over $100 million. Quarterback Sam Bradford is one of 10 free agents the Eagles will have to make a decision on this offseason.
In order to clear more cap space, the Eagles can part ways with several veteran players. Last offseason the Eagles cut the likes of Todd Herremans, Trent Cole, and Cary Williams to save money. Who will it be this year? Here are six names to keep an eye on.
The Sanchize has a cap figure of $5.5 million for the 2016 season. That's the eighth highest cap figure of any player on the team. The Eagles can cut Sanchez to save $3.5 million. That seems like an easy decision. If the Birds are truly interested in Nick Foles as a bridge quarterback to pair with a rookie, which may or may not be the case, keeping Sanchez around doesn't make a lot of sense. Even if the Eagles keep Bradford, it makes more sense to groom a rookie behind the starter than it does to keep Sanchez around.
It's worth noting the Eagles could save $4.5 million if they can find a team that wants to trade for Sanchez. Chip Kelly signed Sanchez to two contracts, so maybe the 49ers would have interest? Even if the Eagles didn't get much in return, clearing the cap space would be worth it.
Barwin has some experience playing as a 4-3 defensive end, so it's not like he CAN'T fit into Philadelphia's new defensive scheme. It can be argued that he has more value as a 3-4 outside linebacker, however, so maybe some other team will look to see if he's available. It doesn't make sense for the Eagles to cut Barwin, but trading him would save $6.1 million. If Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham are going to be full time starting defensive ends and the Eagles can get something valuable for Barwin, a trade makes sense. Barwin's a good guy and team leader so don't mistake this for me rushing him out the door. It's just about scheme fit and value.
This is a tough one. Sproles has a $4.5 million cap hit in 2016. He can be released for a savings of $3.5 million. His offensive production declined in 2015, but he's still the best punt returner in the NFL. Sproles turns 33 in June and age obviously isn't kind to running backs. I'd say Sproles could make for an interesting trade piece but I don't know who's going to want to give up something for an aging running back on the last year of his contract. The guess here is that Sproles sticks because he still offers some value and he's very well-respected in the locker room.
Mufasa is obviously valued in the locker room. It's just a matter of how effective he can be at this point in his career, especially after struggling at times in 2015. The 31-year-old linebacker is in the same situation as Sproles. He's due $4.5 million this season and he can be cut for a savings of $3.5 million. With Jordan Hicks (Simba) primed to started at middle linebacker, do the Eagles really want to pay Mufasa the money he's due? Ryans might not be back unless he takes a pay cut.
Barbre is set to make just under $2 million this season. I think he'll be kept as a backup but I figured I'd mention he can be cut for a savings of $1.65 million. Whether Barbre is back or not, it's clear the Eagles need two new starting guards.
The Eagles are pretty much stuck with Murray and his bad contract. Murray is reportedly unhappy in Philadelphia, though he publicly denied that sentiment. The former Cowboys running back has a cap figure of $8 million in 2016. Cutting him would actually create $13 million in dead money, so the team might as well just keep him. The only hope the Eagles have to clear Murray's salary off the books is if some team is desperate enough to trade for him. Could Jerry Jones be crazy enough to bail the Eagles out? If Murray gets traded, the Birds would save $4 million in cap space. Just don't count on it happening.
Doug Pederson already said he wants Jason Peters back so his inclusion in this post could be moot. It's worth mentioning that Peters could be cut for a savings of $6.7 million. The future Hall of Famer recently turned 34 and he has a degenerative injury condition so it's clear his playing days are numbered.