With the draft upcoming, I thought it would be a good time to look at our salary cap situation to get a handle on where the team is right now and how things look in the future.
Overthecap is now current on our cap space. It's $21.3 million with about $6 million going to our draft class if we pick at our current slots. That number is due to the Lane Johnson restructure.
It can go up if we designate players as Javon Hargrave as a post June 1 cut, so the team may have more money to make a move this year. But I don't really expect any big signings. For one, the biggest need is probably safety, and the available options aren't great. For another, we should be conserving as much money as possible to extend Jalen Hurts. So that gives us $15 million for the season, most of which I expect will be spent on practice squad salaries and in season additions to cover injuries, much like we did last year with Suh and Joseph.
This is, of course, barring Howie going nuts over someone like Jeffrey Simmons, which is always a possibility.
In looking at the current roster, our starting defense has two real question marks - Dean and Blankenship. Jordan Davis might be a question mark, but to me he is going to be at least okay as a starter (and I am confident Williams will be as well.) Blankenship was okay last year filling in, so I am not real worried about him. And Dean should, in theory, be okay. On offense, running back and guard are the potential issues, but again, my level of concern is pretty low. If we had to start the season right now with the current depth chart, I would still have us as favorites in the NFC, and that's without our draft class.
This brings us to next year, where the Eagles have around $52 million in projected cap space.
This number will obviously change a lot. But it provides a good starting point for this discussion.
I would guess the Eagles will have about $32 million in dead cap next year (and $25 million in dead cap in 2025) if Kelce, Cox, Barnett and Graham are all done after this season. The good news is that around $25 million of that amount is already counting against the cap, so the dead cap figure will only lower that amount to $45 million.
We will also need to spend around $10 million for the salaries of the 2023 and 2024 draft classes.
So my best guess (barring any major moves) is that the team will have around $35 million in cap space next year, which could increase to $40 million if we carry any money over. A Hurts extension will cost about $15 million in cap space, so that gives us $20-$25 million for free agents. We can also create another $30 million by restructuring contracts, which I would expect them to do.
If you look at our team for 2024, the potential starters under contract on defense are Sweat, Reddick, Davis, Williams, Dean, Slay, Maddox and Bradberry. On offense they are Brown, Smith, Goedert, Lane, Jurgens, Mailata and Dickerson. I left Blankenship out of the equation because he seems like a starter that you would ideally like to upgrade, but I am hoping he proves me wrong this year (if he gets a chance.)
So ideally in the next two drafts (assuming Hurts is extended) you would like to see them get competent starters on offense at guard, WR, RB, and on defense at LB and safety, while adding depth on the dline. Other needs down the road are at edge rusher, corner and right tackle, and my gut feeling is that I would rather see the Eagles take players at those positions than try to field an immediate need since the positions they have to fill next year are all on the cheaper side - namely safety, linebacker and guard.
Overall, I think the team is in great shape. Obviously a lot depends on Davis, Jurgens and Dean turning into plus starters, but I think that isn't such a crazy idea. And we have to come out of the next two drafts with three or four starters, but that's not an unreasonable concept, either.
There's a reason that almost every team in the league copies our front office in the handling of the salary cap. Our team is set for the future, and barring a run of injuries or our rookies turning into absolute duds, we should be in the mix for a Super Bowl for a while.