Next Wednesday — May 8 — is an important day on the 2019 NFL calendar, especially as the Philadelphia Eagles are concerned.
After May 7, free agent signings no longer count towards or against a team’s compensatory pick formula.
This is both good and bad news for the Eagles. The good news is they’re free to add some veteran additions to their roster (Ezekiel Ansah? Derrick Morgan? A linebacker and/or or saftey?) without cancelling out the comp picks they’re currently projected to receive. The bad news is the Eagles won’t be able to count on guys like Jay Ajayi and Stefen Wisniewski signing elsewhere to help Philly’s chances of landing extra picks.
Here’s a look at the Eagles’ current compensatory pick formula, via Over The Cap:
As you can see, the Eagles are currently only projected to receive two picks: a 2020 third-round selection for Nick Foles and a 2020 fourth-round selection for Golden Tate. The Eagles’ signings of either Andrew Sendejo or L.J. Fort (pick which one you want to blame) are preventing the team from earning another 2020 fourth-round selection, which isn’t a small deal.
The good news for the Eagles is that they do have options to try to get that fourth-round pick for Hicks. If at least one of Sendejo or Fort is on the Eagles’ roster for fewer than 10 games this season, they won’t end up counting against the formula. An issue with this idea is that safety and linebacker aren’t exactly areas where the Eagles are flush with depth. But maybe the Eagles can sign some other safety or linebacker after May 8 that won’t impact their comp pick formula.
Another thing to watch out for — and this is where things get even MORE nerdy — is the “June 1 tender.” The name is misleading because the deadline used to be June 1 but now it’s been moved up to the same date as when the comp pick formula no longer counts (after May 7). Confused yet? Good!
Anyway, the Patriots utilized this rarely used June 1 tender on LeGarrette Blount back in 2017. You can [click here] to read up on the specifics. In short, the Patriots were required to give Blount an offer that was at least 110% of his previous year salary. Blount had until July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp (whichever came later) to either: 1) sign that offer or 2) sign a contract with a new team. If he didn’t sign by the deadline, his rights became solely the Patriots’ through Week 10 of the regular season. If still unsigned after that, he would not be able to play in the season.
Of course, Blount ended up signing with the Eagles. And the Patriots were happy about this because using the June 1 tender on Blount ultimately allowed him to help New England’s compensatory pick formula. (The Patriots weren’t so happy when Blount ran over them en route to Philadelphia’s Super Bowl LII win, however.)
So, all of this is to suggest the Eagles could potentially use the June 1 tender on a player like Wisniewski and/or Ajayi. Wis seems like an especially realistic candidate for this since the Eagles could still use some interior offensive line depth. If the Eagles use this tender on Wis, the offer will be at least $2.75 million since that’s 110% of his $2.5 million salary in 2018. That’s a reasonable price to pay if Wis signs the tender. Or Wis could potentially sign with another team and help the Eagles receive that fourth-round comp pick for Jordan Hicks that’s currently being cancelled out. Wis signing elsewhere would also prevent the Eagles from having to cut Fort or Sendejo.
Again, if the Eagles don’t use the June 1 tender on any of their remaining free agents and those players sign with new teams after May 7, Philadelphia won’t get credited for those in their comp pick formula. One potential signing to keep an eye on BEFORE May 8, though, could be Ajayi. The Raiders reportedly lost Isaiah Crowell to a season-ending Achilles injury earlier today. If Oakland moves quick to sign Ajayi, he’d help the Eagles’ compensatory pick formula. The Raiders don’t need to wait for comp pick purposes because they’ve already signed more players than they’ve lost to qualify for comp picks. Maybe Howie Roseman can convince Philly native and former Eagles preseason color analyst Mike Mayock, now the Raiders’ general manager, to do the Eagles a favor.
TL;DR — Next week could be eventful as far as roster news goes. The Eagles could look to sign some free agents (here’s a useful list of available players via Rotoworld) and/or hand out some June 1 tenders. As always, it’ll be interesting to see what Roseman’s got up his sleeve.