The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in the world in one way or another. It seems all but certain that if a 2020 football season can take place, it'll do so without any fans in the stands. Of course, no fans in the stands means no ticket sales as well as no money from concessions, parking, and anything else teams made money off of on gamedays.
With all of that revenue lost, the league and its teams expecting a decline in the money they can spend in 2021. Instead of having one ginormous decline in 2021, the NFL and NFLPA are agreeing to terms on a proposal that would spread the deficit over a four-year period. Still, the 2021 salary cap will reportedly be just $175 Million compared to the $198.2 Million salary cap that is in place for this season.
Per Over The Cap, the Eagles will have the least amount of cap space out of all 32 NFL teams at almost $92 Million over the limit in 2021 (not including the $22 Million in cap space they plan to roll over from this season). So as long as there are no more big signings or trade before this season starts, the Eagles will have to cut $72 Million somehow.
So what does this mean? It means Howie Roseman will have to crunch numbers until his mind frizzles out. There will be plenty of players Roseman will need to either cut or renegotiate their contracts substantially in order to get under the cap. Here's a look at who he will show the door after this season as well as who he'd like to try to renegotiate a deal with.
The Eagles would save $5.1 Million with him gone heading into 2021, and with his recent controversial comments it is safe to assume the Eagles brass is hoping one of Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins or John Hightower) turns into that deep threat the offense needs so they can give Jackson the boot.
The Eagles would save $9.8 Million with him gone in 2021. After all of that drama that has surrounded him since the middle of last season, there's really no question that this will be Alshon's last season in Philly.
The team did come to terms on a renegotiated contract with Goodwin, but since he hasn't been in Philly yet due to COVID-19 restrictions, those details aren't known yet and haven't been made official. In his old contract, the Eagles would have saved $7 Million with him gone in 2021. Even if it's only a couple of million the team could save, they will have to do it. Now that he has opted-out of the 2020 season, there's a real possibility that Goodwin never even puts on an Eagles uniform.
Ertz turned down a contract offer during the middle of last season that would have made him the highest-paid tight end in the league. He decided to decline it and wait for the market to be set by Travis Kelce and George Kittle. That decision may have cost him the chance of being an Eagle for life. Now with the team strapped for cash, they might decide to move on from Ertz after 2020, which would save ~$4.9 Million. His successor, Dallas Goedert, is waiting in the wings, so there is a real possibility this could be #86's last season as an Eagle.
It's crazy talk to say that the Eagles could get rid of their best defender and the heart/soul of their defense in 2021, but the cap situation could come to that if it is extreme enough. The Eagles would receive $7.1 Million if Cox is off the roster in 2021.
Brooks just signed his new contract to become the highest-paid guard in the NFL. After suffering a season-ending injury already, he might get a call from Howie Roseman requesting a renegotiation. Brooks wouldn't be obligated to do so, but we will have to wait to see if both sides could come to a fair renegotiation that helps both sides out. As of now, Brooks is set to have a $14.5 Million cap hit in 2021.
The team did come to terms on a renegotiated contract with Goodwin, but since he hasn't been in Philly yet due to COVID-19 restrictions, those details aren't known yet and haven't been made official. In his old contract, the Eagles would have saved $7 Million with him gone in 2021. Even if it's only a couple of millions of dollars the team could save, they will have to do it. The expectation should be that Goodwin is only a one-year rental.
As of now, it would cost the Eagles more money to cut/trade Kelce than it would to keep him in 2021. Roseman would certainly like to renegotiate that if Kelce plans on sticking around for 2021 and beyond. However, it Kelce ends up retiring, the Eagles would receive $8.4 Million in cap space, but would obviously have a huge hole to fill at center.
Graham is set to have the 4th-biggest cap hit in 2021 (although he'd move up to 3rd once the Eagles drop Alshon Jeffery). He will count $17.9 Million against the cap next season, which is absurd. we all love BG, but there is no possible way Roseman lets him take the field with that contract. He will do everything in his power to renegotiate to bring that cap hit down.
The 30-year-old defensive tackle has played only 37 snaps as an Eagle. Now with Javon Hargrave in the mix the Eagles have three defensive tackles (Jackson, Hargrave, Fletcher Cox) on the books for $51.2 Million in 2021 cap space (~29% of the team's total cap space). It'll be hard to approach Cox about a renegotiation, so Jackson is the more likely candidate to get a new, cheaper deal.
Barnett is an interesting case. The Eagles could receive $10 Million if they release/trade him in 2021, but they still feel he is a starting-caliber defensive end on this defense. They could try to sign him to a new deal that lowers his cap hit but secures his future in Philadelphia for years to come, but if he wants to keep that $10 Million or potentially make more, it might not be able to happen in Philly.
Wentz is on the books for $34.6 Million in 2021, accounting for ~20% of the Eagles cap. The team would like to keep their QB happy, but it's likely Roseman approaches him about a renegotiation. If Wentz wants to be surrounded by talented players, he'll likely have to accept the circumstances and reluctantly take a renegotiation.
No matter what, Howie Roseman will need to ensure the Eagles are under the salary cap in 2021. Roseman will do all the worrying with that; Eagles fans will just need to worry about how many talented players are lost going into 2021, and if the team can still be a Super Bowl-caliber one.