The Philadelphia Eagles freed up $7.5 million (!) in cap space on Tuesday by restructuring the contract of right tackle Lane Johnson, according to a report ESPN. Field Yates has the details:
Johnson will now have a base salary of $790,000 for 2018, down from $10.25M. He collects the same amount of money in total, it just gets paid out differently. Win-win for the team and player.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 13, 2018
As Yates notes, Johnson isn’t taking a pay cut here. The Eagles are just moving his money around.
Here’s a look at how Johnson’s cap hits have changed over the next four years, with the help of Spotrac.
2018: $12,484,375 —> $5,389,375
2019: $13,100,000 —> $15,465,000
2020: $11,085,000 —> $13,450,000
2021: $8,565,000 —> $10,930,000
The Eagles’ immediate savings in 2018 comes at the expense of a higher cap hit in future seasons.
$7.5 million is a good chunk of cap space for a team that was projected to be $9.8 million OVER the cap by OverTheCap.com. The Eagles must be under the cap by 4:00 PM Eastern tomorrow, Wednesday, March 14.
Don’t be surprised if more restructures are coming. The Eagles can’t rely on making trades to get them under the cap before the deadline; only restructures, pay cuts, and releases can help them in this regard.
Getting under the cap before the new league year without needing to cut players gives the Eagles more time to trade some of them. Vinny Curry is a prime example in this case. Philadelphia is reportedly expected to move on from the 29-year-old pass rusher, especially after acquiring Michael Bennett last week.
Even though trading Curry wouldn’t help the Eagles get under the cap before March 14, doing it after the deadline will still help them save $5 million that could go to signing other players, such as a free agent linebacker.
Merely getting under the cap isn’t the end goal for the Eagles. It’s just the first step. Once they’re cap compliant, they’ll need to free up adequate money to help fill some roster holes and build depth.