The "Shutdown Countdown" is going full steam ahead. In addition to previewing each team, "Shutdown Corner" will be taking a brief look at each team's salary cap situation heading into the 2013 season and beyond. We continue the series with the Philadelphia Eagles.
2013 Adjusted Cap Number: $146.311 million (largest in the NFL)
2013 Cap Room Remaining: $22.466 million (third-most in the NFL). The Eagles still have to sign No. 4 overall pick Lane Johnson, who will have a first-year cap hit of $3,609,655. When Johnson's contract is added to the "Top 51" contracts that apply against the cap, the Eagles will have around $19.4 million in cap space in 2013.
Best Bargain: Running back Bryce Brown was the 229th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, a draft slot that came with a $50,880 signing bonus and no other guarantees. Brown earned a spot on the Eagles' 53-man roster last season and played in 29.6 percent of the offensive snaps, mostly in a reserve role behind LeSean McCoy. When McCoy was injured, the 6-foot, 223-pound Brown stepped up in a starting role, rushing for 347 yards and four touchdowns over a two-game span in late November/early December. Brown would finish his rookie season with 564 rushing yards on 115 attempts and was 24th in Football Outsiders' rushing DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) metric, ahead of DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones, who is now behind Brown on the Eagles' depth chart. Brown will earn the league minimum base salary ($480,000) and his $492,720 cap hit ranks 107th among current running back contracts.
Potential Camp Cap Casualty: High-priced veterans inherited by a new coaching staff are always vulnerable to a release. Two examples on the Eagles are left tackle Jason Peters and inside linebacker Demeco Ryans.
The Eagles are moving to a 3-4 defense and the last time the team Ryans played for a team that switched to a 3-4 he was traded to a team (the Eagles) running a 4-3 system. Ryan is still a solid player against the run, but struggled in pass coverage last season. Ryans turns 29 on the fourth day of training camp and is scheduled to earn $6.6 million in base salary, which is the fourth-largest base salary among NFL linebackers this season. That's a lot of cash and cap space (which can be rolled over to next season) for a guy who might be a two-down player.
Peters, 31, spent the 2012 season on the physically unable to perform list after twice tearing his Achilles' tendon last offseason. The injuries cost Peters $3.9 million in base salary last season, but the five-time Pro Bowler appears healthy and will likely man the left tackle position with first-round offensive tackle Lane Johnson beginning his NFL career at right tackle. That said, the Eagles may look to reduce Peters' $10.4 million base salary (which will become fully guaranteed in Week 1) and an $11.042 million cap hit that is the second-largest among offensive tackles in 2013.
Looming Contract Issues: DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are projected to be the starting wide receivers this season and both have contract issues the Eagles will need to address in 2014. Maclin, 25, is entering the final season of his rookie contract and is coming off a season where he led the Eagles with 69 receptions, 857 yards and seven touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Jackson is due $10.5 million in 2014, the third season of a five-year, $48.25 million extension he signed off the franchise tag on March 15, 2012. Jackson's contract included $18 million in guaranteed money, including a $250,000 guarantee on Jackson's $10.25 million base salary in 2014. However, according to a source with knowledge of Jackson's contract details, since Jackson has completed the offseason workouts the last two years, that base salary guarantee will void. Therefore, the $30.5 million that remains on Jackson's contract from 2014-16 is non-guaranteed. With a $10.25 million base salary and $12.5 million cap charge in 2014, the Eagles could look to convert some of that into a signing bonus to lower Jackson's cap hit, or they could part ways with Jackson entirely and save at least $6.5 million in cap space next season. The direction the Eagles go will be determined by how Jackson performs in Chip Kelly's offense.
Long-Term Cash/Cap Outlook: Barring any extensions this summer, and assuming that none of the current players in the "Top 51" are released this summer, the Eagles will have well over $15 million in cap space that can be rolled over to 2014. That rollover amount will come in handy as the Eagles' current "Top 51" players (including Lane Johnson) signed for 2014 have $125 million in salary cap commitments, plus several players have available base salary escalators.
Previous salary cap outlooks