The Philadelphia Eagles created a little over $11.9 million in cap space by restructuring Darius Slay’s contract, according to a report from NFL insider Field Yates. The Eagles converted $14.88 million of Slay’s original $16 million base salary for the 2022 season in order to get it done.
Whenever news like this breaks, it’s only natural for fans to be all like “Ooooooo, who are the Eagles clearing space in order to add?! (eyeballs emoji) (eyeballs emoji) (eyeballs emoji)”
And it is quite possible that the Eagles have more moves in store, especially considering Haason Reddick is the only external free agent they’ve added since the new league year began.
But Slay’s restructure hardly guarantees the Eagles are about to make another big splash. This move was also expected to happen since he had one of the biggest cap numbers on the team this year.
On that note, the Eagles could also look to lower Javon Hargrave’s $17.8 million cap number by either restructuring him or signing him to an extension.
Though the short-term benefit to restructuring contracts is obvious (see: freeing up cap space), one must consider there are long-term ramifications to kicking the can down the road. The Eagles are comfortable restructuring Slay’s deal in part because 1) they feel good about his outlook coming off a Pro Bowl season and 2) they’re counting on the salary cap to explode in the coming years. Thus, they’re not all too worried about raising his cap numbers in the future.
It’s possible they’re making the right read here. But it’s only fair to consider there is downside to restructuring players. Look no further than how the Eagles ended up tying more money in Alshon Jeffery and Fletcher Cox than they needed to because they didn’t properly account for their declines. Slay is coming off a strong season but he kind of had down years in 2019 and 2022 and cornerbacks don’t always age gracefully. Slay is entering his age 31 season.
For now, that’s a problem to worry about for another day (or ultimately not at all). The Eagles have more financial flexibility to work with in the short-term.