A lot has been made about how the Eagles spent the most guaranteed money of any NFL team this offseason. Howie Roseman explained the spending spree as a way of building and retaining a core group of players to help Philadelphia compete for a championship over an extended period of time. Now that the spending is done and the dust has settled, let's take a look at the 15 Eagles players who carry the highest cap numbers for the 2016 season.
And now for some observations about this list.
• Sam Bradford has the highest cap number of any Eagles player. That's not surprising since he's a quarterback and quarterbacks make a lot of money. With that said, it's at least a little odd to think that a player with such a mediocre track record and who tried to force his way off the team is making the most money. Bradford's salary is likely to come off the books next offseason when the Eagles can either trade or cut him in order to save up to $17 million. Doing so would also open up the starting job for Carson Wentz in 2017.
• Bradford isn't the only lame duck player on this list. Jason Peters could very well be in his last season. The future Hall of Famer turns 35 after this season. Darren Sproles, who turns 34 next summer, is on the last year of his contract. The injury-prone Ryan Mathews turns 29 this fall and can easily be cut or traded next offseason for a savings of $4 million.
• Lane Johnson is making a lot of money for a right tackle right now, but he'll be switching over to the left side once Peters is done.
• It'll be interesting to see how Connor Barwin holds up in the new defensive scheme. Barwin was a great fit in the Eagles' two-gap 3-4 defense because he's very versatile. One of his biggest strengths included dropping into coverage. Barwin likely won't be asked to do that as much now. Jim Schwartz wants his defensive ends to attack the quarterback. If Barwin doesn't turn out to be a good scheme fit, the Eagles can either cut or trade him for a savings of $7.75 million with only $600K in dead money.
• Fletcher Cox, 25, signed a well-deserved contract extension last month. His cap number will continue to shoot up over the next couple of seasons ($9.4 million in 2017 and $17.9 million in 2018) until it peaks in 2019 ($22 million).
• Jason Kelce can realistically be cut or traded as soon as 2017. The Eagles will hope they don't have to do that, but he did really struggle in 2015. Kelce turns 29 this November.
• Brandon Graham and Chase Daniel both check in at $5 million and they're both essentially backups. Graham will obviously get more playing time as a rotational player than Daniel will (barring injury), though.
• Carson Wentz has the 10th highest cap number on the team and might not even play a single snap his entire rookie season.
• The Eagles will be hoping for more consistency out of Mychal Kendricks after an erratic 2015 campaign. The Birds are pretty much tied with him through 2018.
• Zach Ertz signed an extension earlier this year. His cap number never exceeds $9.6 million over the life of his contract.
• Brandon Brooks, Daniel, and Wentz are the three new players on this list who were acquired this offseason.
• Vinny Curry has the 16th highest cap number. He barely missed making this list. His $3 million cap number is only $200K less than Brooks' figure.