clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Three Eagles players who could get contract extensions, and four who won't

New, comments

Looking ahead to potential roster moves.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Eagles went on a big spending spree this offseason, doling out over $127 million in guarantees in contract extensions alone to Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Vinny Curry, Malcolm Jenkins and Sam Bradford. Building and retaining a good core has been the top priority for Howie Roseman this offseason, and it will be a priority next offseason as well, as long-term decisions must be made on a few starters and key contributors.

Bennie Logan

After extensions to Cox, Jenkins and Curry,  every key player and key contributor of the Eagles defense is under contract for at least 2017 except for Logan, who will be an unrestricted free agent . Logan is deserving of an extension now, but it's reasonable for the Eagles to hold off on giving him a deal. In Chip Kelly/Billy Davis's 3-4, Logan established himself as a very good and underrated nose tackle. In Jim Schwartz's 4-3, there's every reason to believe that Logan will not only continue to be a very good player, but play even better in a scheme that suits him even better. Though Logan played 4-3 DT at LSU, and played it well, the team may decide to wait and see how effective he is before giving him an extension. There's risk involved in waiting, if Logan has a massive year he'll cost even more. But the Eagles aren't afraid to pay key players. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Logan given an extension before the season is over.

Donnie Jones

Jones signed a three-year contract in 2013 and quickly re-established himself as one of the league's better and consistent punters. However age is not on his side, at 36 Jones is the 2nd oldest punter behind Shane Lechler, though Jones showed no signs of decline in 2015. As the 15th highest paid punter Jones is a mildly underpaid. So long as he has a good season, expect Jones to sign a short-term extension, with the franchise tag being a possibility. Since 2009, a total of 15 kickers and punters have been franchised tagged every offseason. Kickers Cody Parkey (RFA) and Caleb Sturgis (UFA) are also on the last year of their contracts, but there's a very good chance the team will find a new kicker next year.

Nolan Carroll

Signed as a backup for 2014, Carroll had a solid season as a starter in 2015, and will compete to keep it for 2016 in camp. He'll be a free agent after the season, another good season and the Eagles could potentially have some tough decisions to make. Leodis McKelvin is on what equates to a one-year deal and at 31 has to play well to have the Eagles pick up his 2017 roster bonus. In his favor is that he played very well under Jim Schwartz in 2014, and he spent most of OTAs and minicamps on the first team. Eric Rowe will also be competing for a starting job. Neither McKelvin or Carroll have started a full season before for both performance and health reasons, so nothing is guaranteed. A solid and healthy season could see Carroll back for 2017.

Before the Eagles give out any extensions they are going to have to shed some salary. Currently they have the highest cap charge in the league for 2017 with $177 million in cap spending, $10 million more than the next team, the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles can and will easily drastically lower their cap hit with just a few releases.

Sam Bradford will either be released or traded in the off-season, there's nothing he can do to get a contract extension from the Eagles. That will free up between $13-17 million in cap space. Four other veterans are in a similar situation, where their contract and their roster situation means this is probably their last season on the Eagles.

Jason Peters

The next biggest cap savings for 2017 is releasing Jason Peters. Peters was the third oldest starting offensive lineman last year, and while he was a legitimate starter in 2015 he wasn't worth his $9 million cap hit and won't be worth his $9.5 million hit either, and in 2017 he counts for $11.2 million against the cap. The team can get $9.2 million in cap savings by releasing him.

Connor Barwin

Barwin is a highly likely cap casualty for a few reasons. One, he's now a terrible scheme fit. Barwin had a productive season as a pass rusher in 2014, but most of his sacks came as a result of the defensive line opening up space for him to utilize his speed and athleticism to get to the QB. As a hand in the ground 4-3 DE, he's inadequate as a pass rusher. His one good pass rushing season as a 4-3 DE in Houston came because he feasted on weak opposition, sacking Blaine Gabbert, Luke McCown, Chad Henne, Colt McCoy and Dan Orlovsky for 7 of his 11.5 sacks. Barwin relies on pure speed and a spin move to defeat offensive lineman, and Jim Schwartz's heavy use of DEs in a 9 technique should help Barwin out, but he lacks the strength and leverage to be effective every down pass rusher. Releasing him after the 2016 season saves $7.75 million against the cap, and he'll be 31, at the end of his physical peak and at the prime age for the Eagles to release veterans under the old Andy Reid/Joe Banner model that the team is emulating.

Ryan Mathews

Like Sam Bradford, you can safely plan on Mathews not being on the Eagles in 2017. He's never started a full season; the team saves $4 million by releasing him; he's a poor pass catcher, which makes him a weak fit for the offense that Doug Pederson wants to run, and the 2017 draft will be absolutely loaded with running backs.

Darren Sproles

Expect major changes in the backfield for 2017. In addition to the inevitable release of Mathews, Darren Sproles will be a free agent after this season and the team should let him walk. Previously we looked at how players similar to Sproles age, and in their age 33 season players were generally out of the league or not getting nearly the amount of touches they previously received. 2016 is Darren Sproles' age 33 season, and last year he declined and should continue that decline this season. Prior to last season Sproles averaged 5.2 yards per carry on 55 attempts. In 2015 he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, and did so on 83 attempts, the third highest mark of his career. Pass catching RBs tend to hold up well in terms of rate statistics at age 33, but in terms of use they pretty much all have big drop offs. Add in that Sproles is coming off a high workload season, there's strong reason to believe he will not be a reliable player in 2016, and because of that he would not deserve an extension.

The spending spree that Howie Roseman went on in the offseason means that these probable losses won't set the team back. The team already has Bradford's replacement in Carson Wentz, and Peters will be replaced by Lane Johnson. Johnson's spot at right tackle will be relatively easy to fill in free agency or the draft. They'll almost certainly draft a running back to replace Mathews, and do so with one who is a dual threat, which will help negate the loss of Sproles. Wendell Smallwood could be an in-house replacement for Sproles as well. Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham will be the starters at DE, so replacing Barwin will be a lower priority.

With only one core player that is or could be deserving of a contract extension who was drafted by the Eagles in Bennie Logan, Roseman might be an active spender in free agency again next year.