According to the NFLPA’s public League Cap Report, the Eagles are still flush with cap space, with just over $25.7 million at their disposal. To put that in context, the league average is $9.6 million under the cap. The Cowboys are $4.5 million under the cap, the Giants are $4.1 million under, and the Redskins have a mere $670,000 to work with.
The Eagles’ cap space number may seem large (4th in the league), but it does not guarantee financial stability into the future. In fact, due to the $23 million of unused cap space that the Eagles carried over from 2012 into this year, the $25.7 million figure is a bit deceiving.
In essence, the carryover money inflates the Eagles’ salary cap for one season. The team has taken advantage by playing an active role in free agency. For 2013, that’s fine. Beyond this year, though, the Eagles will have to lower their player salaries as their salary cap also decreases. In fact, despite having the most cap room in the division by far, the Eagles are also spending more money towards the cap than any of their division foes.
That’s the most likely explanation for why the Eagles aren’t spending more of their money. If they used up all of the $146.3 million at their disposal this year, there’s no way they would be able to afford to keep paying out those contracts in 2014, when the Eagles will only have around $123 million to work with.
I don’t pretend to understand all the rules of the salary cap under the new CBA, but it appears as though Howie Roseman is managing the cap well. While the jury is still out on the youngest NFL GM’s ability to evaluate talent, he has proven himself to be a cap wizard, and I trust that he is doing the right thing.
One possibility the Eagles should look into is front-loading contracts. The Redskins and Cowboys got in big trouble for doing this, but that was during an uncapped year when the NFL specifically warned teams against that very practice. To my knowledge, front-loading deals is legal under today’s CBA, and the Eagles could put some of that carryover fund to good use before it evaporates.
Why not give LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson $10 million advances on their contract. McCoy is due $38.35 million over the next four seasons, and Jackson is due $44 million over the next four. The Eagles could potentially reduce their cap hits from 2014-2016 by over $6 million a year, which is essentially extra carryover money. While I don’t know if this is possible of if anybody has thought of this, the bottom line is that the Eagles must be very careful about how they use their cap space.