Eagles get creative with the salary cap

In an interesting twist the Eagles have restructured the contracts of two players most assume are headed out the door in Alshon Jeffery and Malik Jackson.

So odds are they will still be on their way out but the Eagles pulled a nice little cap move that I talked about as a slim possibility regarding Carson Wentz and have mentioned as a way for the Saints to handle Drew Brees if he retires.

The trick the Eagles are attempting to use here is the post June 1 designation but to what I would assume is the maximum extent. Every year the NFL allows you to designate two players as a post June 1 cut which allows you to prevent any future bonus money from accelerating in the current league year.

However there is a caveat and it’s that you have to keep the players cap charge on your roster as is until June 2. So for the Eagles this would be a massive $18.49M for Jeffery and $13.6M for Jackson. That does nothing for the Eagles salary cap woes in 2021 since the savings won’t be realized at the start of the league year, forcing them to cut the players in February at dead money charges of $10.5M and $12.6M respectively.

I would imagine that what the Eagles did here was reduce the players salaries to the minimum (for the sake of easy math lets just call it $1M) in 2021 and add a 2022 league year salary that is worth somewhere around $20M. To ensure that the player is indeed cut and allowed to be a free agent there would need to be some trigger that occurs such as the 2022 salary completely guarantees on the 2nd day of the 2021 league year, forcing Philadelphia to cut the players.

Their 2021 cap charges in this scenario would reduce from $18.49 and $13.6 million to $6.49M and $4.6M, opening up a massive $21 million in cap space for 2021. When they June 1 the players to prevent the 2022 guarantee from kicking in the cap numbers remain at $6.49 and $4.6M until June 2 at which point they will reduce even further to $5.49M and $3.6M. The Eagles would then be on the hook for $5M and $9M for the two players in 2022.

Now I don’t know if this is exactly what they did or did not do but its the way that I would have approached it which makes me think they did something similar. In any event it’s a pretty creative use of the rules. As for why the players would accept such a thing? Well it does ensure their quick release and I’m sure keeps a solid relationship between the agent who rep the players and the organization as well.

Why the timing of the restructure? That’s also due to the rules. The NFL does not allow you to utilize the June 1 release if you renegotiate a players contract after the last regular season game basically to prevent this situation from occurring. So Philadelphia took full advantage of it here at the last minute,

Had the Eagles just played the contracts as normal they would have saved just $8.937M on the cap by releasing these two players as normal cuts. Now they should have an extra $12M on top of that. Its a brilliant move that really helps a rough cap situation next year.

Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @Jason_OTC