The Eagles currently have the fifth most dead money in 2017, which will only rise when expected cuts happen. It’s easy to blame that on Chip Kelly, whose tenure at GM was a disaster, but half of the $14 million is from Sam Bradford. At least they got a first round pick out of him.
But more importantly to the Eagles in 2017, they’ll have one of the most expensive benches in the league as well. Every team has a few stinker contracts, and quite a few end the season with a cheaper player supplanting a more expensive one in a key role. The Eagles have a few contenders for the latter, but as for the former, they already have too many players that they’re not getting a good return on investment for.
Vinny Curry - $9 million
Curry’s cap hit on 2017 is the fourth highest on the team at $9 million. The three players above him are Lane Johnson, Alshon Jeffery and Fletcher Cox, who are three linchpins for the team. Curry might end up fourth on his depth chart at defensive end by season’s end. If he plays 45% of snaps in 2017, that will be a career high. On a per-snap basis, he wasn’t much more productive than Marcus Smith (Curry: 14.5 snaps per pressure/sack, Smith: 19.7 snaps per pressure/sack).
Howie Roseman has generally been one of the best in the NFL when it comes to both value and structure for contracts. But nobody is perfect, and Curry is by far his worst contract. He bid against himself last offseason for a player a year removed from his best season (which was as a situational player), giving Curry bonafide starter money despite never starting a game.
Mychal Kendricks - $5 million
It was somewhat surprising that the Eagles didn’t trade Kendricks in the spring, as he has no future on the Eagles. But it wasn’t too surprising that a team didn’t want to give up an asset for a poor tackling 3-4 inside linebacker. His $5 million cap hit in 2017 is 9th most on the team and 4th most on the defense. That’s a lot of money for a player who is expected to play less than a third of snaps. The Eagles could see a bit better bang for their buck if Jim Schwartz would find ways to make use of Kendricks’ blitzing ability, but he didn’t last year and won’t this year.
Brent Celek - $4 million
The way that contracts are structured in the NFL makes direct player comparisons difficult. But after Zach Ertz restructured his contract, he now counts for less against the 2017 cap than Brent Celek. Ertz should play well over twice the amount of snaps as Celek, who has his uses as a blocker but blocking TEs don’t cost $4 million. Trey Burton could end the season with more snaps than Celek, making Celek another player at the bottom of his depth chart and top of his cap hit.
Nelson Agholor - $2.6 million
This is entirely because of one being a 1st round pick and the other being a 2nd and both being on their rookie deals, but that doesn’t change that Nelson Agholor will count for more against the cap than Jordan Matthews and should be his backup. With the Eagles additions at WR, Agholor probably won’t match his 36 receptions from 2016, which was 80th among WRs. He has the 59th highest cap hit for 2017 of WRs. $2.6 million isn’t a huge total, but the Eagles have never gotten even money for Agholor and won’t again in 2017.
Marcus Smith - $2.5 million
If he makes the team, (unlikely, but all it takes is one injury) Smith will count for more against the cap than Derek Barnett and Chris Long, who are ahead of him on the depth chart. At least they’ll get some use out of him, he was 7th on the team in special teams snaps in 2016 and first among players on this list. If he’s cut, the Eagles eat only $1 million in dead money.