While there is a lot of talk about which free agents the Eagles need to look at come February 27, there are some issues to deal with regarding some players currently under contract.
According to eaglescap, the birds currently are $41,996,506 under the cap. For whatever reason some unknown offensive lineman named Chris Patrick took over $8 million in cap space.
Most of that money will be freed up at the beginning of the free-agency signing period due to a void in LTBE (Likely To Be Earned) credits.
I don't know fully why nor do I really care. All I know is an additional $7,740,930 will be added. The Eagles will then go in the free agency period with $49,737,436 in cap space. That's plenty of money to go after some marquee guys but does it have to stop there? Not at all.
If you've ever played NFL Head Coach 2009 you know about cutting "dead weight" during the off season. The Eagles have plenty of dead weight and a little bit of trade value(you know who those guys are....) that could free up even more cap room and valuable roster space. Let's look at the guys I feel FO needs to look further into the next couple of weeks.
1. A.J. Feely-QB: I've said it before and I'll say it again. There's no room on any team for a 31-year-old, third-string QB. That spot can be used to mold someone younger and possibly more talented. While part of me says just cut him, another part says see what happens with Gus Frerotte on the Vikings.
Feeley was at his best under Brad Childress system. If Frerotte leaves and the Kurt Warners, Derek Andersons, and Kerry Collins don't become available, the Vikings just might(just might) give up a fifth or sixth rounder for Feeley freeing up $807,280 in cap space.
The Eagles gave up a fourth rounder for Lorenzo Booker so anything's possible in this league....lol
2. Lorenzo Booker-HB: The fact that the Birds gave up a fourth rounder for this guy is still something I can't fathom. They didn't even dress him when Westbrook was banged up leaving the Eagles with just Buckhalter as the healthy halfback. Totally useless and don't see that changing next year. Cut him.
Frees up $460K in cap space.
3. Kyle Eckel-FB: While Eckel showed flashes of skill, the Eagles FO needs to understand that this positon exists for a reason and take it more seriously. Cut him, free up the $460K in cap space, and bring in Leonard Weaver or draft a real FB in the sixth round!!
4. Reggie Brown-WR: Reggie's signing bonus a few years back will cause the Eagles to lose almost $3 million($2,780,999 to be exact) in cap space. But, I can't think of any other reasons to keep him. He was a healthy scratch in many key games down the stretch.
The Eagles need to throw him in a package for a trade, but he's going to be a hard sale. He may end up being a very expensive Greg Lewis the next few years unfortunately....
5. Greg Lewis-WR: Speaking of which, can we end the misery. Dave Spadaro thinks G-Lew is a good role player for the Eagles. I want some of what both of them are having.
Greg Lewis is nothing more than a highly paid fan with free tickets, travel and jerseys. Cut him. Frees up $656,720.
6. Matt Schoebel-TE: Shoebel is scheduled to make a little over $1 million this year. More money than Brent Celek. To me it's a lot for a 30-year-old (31 in November) third stringer who can't block. Nor did I hear his name called even when L.J. was hurt. Cut him! Cut him now!!! Frees up $836,720 in cap space.
7. Winston Justice-OT: Justice hasn't gotten it nor do I think he will ever get it. Another constant healthy scratch. If you can part ways with Tony Hunt you can do the same with Winston Justice!!! Frees up $536,720 in cap space.
8. Dan Klecko-DT/FB: Klecko does whatever he's asked and I can respect that. But he is schedule to take up $4,958,580 in cap space in 2009!!!! He makes more than Mike Patterson and Broderick Bunkley!!! WHY!!!
Don't tell me the Eagles can't get Peppers or Haynesworth if this much is invested in a fourth string DT turned FB!!! Cut him and free up that space. If he wants to stay an Eagle, sign him to the minimum!!
9. Darren Howard-DE: Darren Howard is a good player, but not great. He's another guy who does what he's asked. Plays DT and DE. But I believe he makes more money that what his role is worth even if he did lead the team in sacks.
The Eagles invested in Trent Cole, Chris Clemons, and Bryan Smith. They also have Abiamiri and Parker. Beside Cole, Howard makes more that anyone else. Not good. My views are contingent on if the Eagles pursue Julius Peppers or not.
Coming off a productive season I think the Eagles should try and trade him. Particularly to Carolina being that they possibly are in dire need of a productive DE and don't have that much cap space to be much of a player during free agency.
I think the Eagles could get a fourth round pick(at No. 28 almost a fifth rounder) for Darren Howard. Frees up $2,306,720 in cap space.
10. Lito Sheppard-CB: We all know that Lito is 90 percent gone via trade by draft weekend. There are talks about packaging Lito and a first rounder for Boldin but if Houshmandzadeh can get signed why give up a first rounder when there are bigger holes to fill with that draft pick?
I think Lito can still be traded for a third rounder if the right team feels that 2008 was just a bad year for the two time Pro Bowler turned dime back. He would free up $3,007,280 in cap space.
11. Tracy White-LB: $850,000 is a lot to me for a special teamer with no chance what so ever to be considered a starter. Don't hear his name too much being mentioned for special teams play.
12. Omar Gaither-LB: I really liked Gaither, but the Ravens game exposed him and Akeem Jordan helped improved the defense down the stretch. Even if the Eagles were to get Terrell Suggs or Karlos Dansby, Gaither is likely the odd man out. Frees up $536,720 in cap space.
When you add all of these guys up, some who don't start with starters pay or can't even play their limited roles well, you have a lot of changes to make. Most likely with the draft and undrafted rookie free agents that may be slept on, these positions can be replaced.
These 12 guys gone would give the Eagles an additional $12,635,741 in cap space.
WOW!!! That's more than some teams have now and add that to the current cap space you have $62,373,177 in cap space. The Eagles would be able to do almost anything they want(not that they're not in that position now) this off season!!
Adding on to that there are other issues to ask regarding other players who AREN'T going anywhere.
1. Donovan McNabb-QB: Do the Eagles sign him an extension?? I say they do, but do it responsibly where it allows them to still surround him with talent. Sign him to a three-year extension (he was originally signed to 2013 anyway), see if he's willing to take a slight paycut ($8 million in 2009; $9 million in 2010) in restructuring his contract.
Offer incentives for him to earn that money back by acheiving certain stats or even better, making the Super Bowl again. See how much he really wants to retire as an Eagle as the greatest QB ever to play in this city.
2. Sheldon Brown-CB: Brown is a good, steady starting CB. A borderline Pro Bowler. But, if Nnamdi Asomugha is available, he has to be looked at. His strength(a physical, shutdown corner with the size to match) is Sheldon's biggest weakness(exposed too many times by Plaxico and T.O.).
Asomugha is going to want around $8-9 million/yr. Trading Sheldon frees up $2 million this year and three, four, and $5 million the remaining three years of his contract making this a very do-able deal.
3. David Akers-PK: Akers had an overall good season, but came up short in some key moments. He makes a lot of money to me the next two years for a mid-30 kicker possibly on the decline.
4. Mike Patterson-DT: Part of me says make room for Haynesworth, but the Eagles would lose money getting rid of Patterson. He and Broderick Bunkely make up a good productive tandem so financially it wouldn't be a smart move. But...That's Albert Haynesworth!!!!
5. Stewart Bradley-LB: He's the ONLY member of the Eagles that deserves an extension to me. I would wait until after next season to see if he's definitely the real deal.
That's my thoughts for the current Eagles roster...I'm sure others have different opinions.