Life isn't always fair. Sometimes those who deserve the most are the least compensated, and those paid well hardly seem to deserve it. In other scenarios, someone once well rewarded for his contributions is no longer as valuable now. It's true in all areas of society, and the NFL is no exception.
The Philadelphia Eagles will need to make some important decisions on how they deal with their salary cap. Some of the players' situations will be easily dealt with, while some players are obvious candidates to be cut. Other more veteran players' circumstances will take some more deliberation.
Here is a list of the five worst Eagles contracts that must be addressed.
Cary Williams may have played well at the end of the season, with many critical stops against Dez Bryant in Week 17, but he was burned often and did not tackle well.
Pro Football Focus ranked Williams as the 92nd corner out of a list of 110 who qualified. He was also targeted more than any of those corners. Clearly, quarterbacks don't fear him.
Williams has proven himself to be a valuable player at times, but he certainly is not worth his three-year, $17 million contract. And unless the Eagles cut him before March 16, he is guaranteed his 2014 salary of $4.75 million.
Williams has played well at the end of the season but he is not worth that huge cap hit.
Patrick Chung was likely signed in hopes that he could repeat his 2010 success. But he played horribly for the Eagles this season. The name Chung in Philly has become synonymous with blown coverages, poor tackling angles and a complete inability to wrap up ball-carriers.
To make matters worse, Chung is owed a whopping $3.25 million next season. The Eagles will almost certainly cut him. Even if he agrees to a pay cut, a player like Chung is simply not worth having on a roster.
Originally hyped up as the most versatile addition to Chip Kelly's Eagles, Philadelphia signed Casey to a three-year, $12 million contract. But Casey was stashed away on the depth chart and hardly even saw playing time.
He recorded a laughable three receptions in 2013 and no touchdowns. Casey made a little over $4 million in 2013, so they basically paid about $1.3 million per reception.
With the veteran Brent Celek and Zach Ertz emerging as a reliable target, Casey really has no role on the team now and does not deserve the $3.99 million he is owed next season. He should restructure or hit the road.
Trent Cole is still more or less a valuable player. He was incredibly stout against the run and was as hot as any pass-rusher was in the second half of the season. In the final eight games, he recorded eight sacks, and he also brought down Drew Brees once in the postseason.
But how much does Cole really have left in the tank? My guess is not much, at least as a pass-rusher.
For all of his successes, Cole has also had a ton of dry spells. In 12 out of 16 games, Cole went sack-less. His numbers were greatly padded by the Chicago Bears game, when he brought down Jay Cutler three times.
Not to mention, Cole is 31 years old. This is when pass-rushers tend to start seeing some decline.
Cole is owed $5 million next year in base salary, with $4.8 million of that guaranteed. For a solid veteran player, that's not too bad, but that number jumps to $10 million in 2015.
Maybe the Eagles should ask Cole to restructure his contract for cap reasons or even entertain trading him before potential suitors shy away from his lofty contract.
Jason Avant was a good player for the Eagles. For several years, he was the closest thing to a reliable go-to receiver for Eagles quarterbacks. But unfortunately, his role with the team has diminished, and it may be time to say goodbye.
Avant managed only 38 catches and 447 yards in 2013. It was his worst season since 2008. And with the futures of Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper being pressing needs, Avant looks like a cap casualty (unless he agrees to a pay cut).
Should the Eagles decide to retain Avant in 2014, he will be owed a $1 million bonus, as well as a base salary of $2.25 million. Avant's a great team leader and has some of the best hands on the team, but the cap space may be more valuable. The Eagles can possibly find a player like him in the draft for a much cheaper salary.
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