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Trying to keep up—paydirt and dust in Philly
The changes to the Eagles roster are coming in waves! Brent Celek released, now Trey Burton (Bears) and Patrick Robinson (Saints) evaporate into free agency, and Beau Allen signs with Tampa Bay…

The latest: according to NFL Network, cornerback Patrick Robinson has signed a four-year $20 million deal with the New Orleans Saints.

Robinson joined the Eagles last offseason to add depth to their young secondary. Although he was projected to snag a starting corner job, Robinson struggled in training camp, leaving many to believe he was in danger to being cut before the season began. Once the season started however, it was lights out for Robinson, especially after he was moved into the slot following the addition of cornerback Ronald Darby. Robinson would record a team-high four interceptions.


Robinson will now join a Saints secondary which saw huge rejuvenation in 2017 with the likes of Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley.

The free agent defections don’t show up on the Eagles’ official transactions chart:

16 Transactions as of March 14, 2018, with more to come!
Leo Pizzini’s reaction:
“Howie Roseman has managed to get the Eagles under the Salary Cap prior to the March 14th new league year deadline. Reports of the Eagles being 9 million to 14 million over the 2018 salary cap have been swirling around for the reigning Super Bowl champions who had 20 of 22 starters returning under contract from their 2017 championship season. Roseman, in typical fashion, has once again thwarted the potentially dooming nature of the NFL Salary Cap. He’s often been criticized for his ability to judge talent, but never for his ability to juggle the Salary Cap.
“We are not going to get rid of good players because of our cap situation and that responsibility starts with me.” – Howie Roseman

What did Roseman do, what will he do?

The Eagles added talent to their defensive line and secondary with trades and acquisitions. They added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata to their vaunted defensive line through trade and free agency respectively. Bennett’s cap-hit is expected to be less than 2 million dollars if the Seahawks are forced to eat the roster bonus portion of his contract. However, has the Eagles eating the roster bonus which would put Bennett’s cap hit at just under 6 million. In the deal for Bennett, the Eagles swapped one of their 5th round picks for the Seahawks 7th round pick and threw in reserve receiver Marcus Johnson to sweeten the deal.”

“Additionally on the acquisition front, they brought home Philadelphia’s own Daryl Worley to the secondary clearing Torrey Smith’s 5 million dollar salary in the process of completing that trade.”

“The heavy hearted move was releasing beloved tight end Brent Celek. Releasing Celek cleared 4 million dollars in salary, but also left Philadelphia without its longest tenured professional athlete. I’m going to speculate that there is a better than average chance that Celek could return to the Eagles at some point prior to the commencement of action in the 2018 season.”
“Brent Celek defines what it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle… his dedication to his profession and this organization is unmatched and he will go down as one of the best tight ends in franchise history. Brent embodied the City of Philadelphia’s temperament and character with his toughness and grit. He has been a huge part of everything we have been building over the last decade and it is only fitting that he was able to help us win our first Super Bowl last season.” – Eagles Team Statement

“The last move of generally managed magic was restructuring Lane Johnson’s contract. His salary was converted into a bonus that could be pro-rated for the duration of his contract so that in 2018, he nets the same pay, but reduces his cap-hit from over 10 million dollars to under 5 million dollars for this upcoming season.

“Along the way, the Eagles quest to get under the cap was aided by the timely retirement of outstanding veteran punter Donnie Jones.

“Exactly how far under the salary cap the Eagles are at this moment is probably difficult to say with precision. I’ve seen estimates at 7.5 million under the cap to almost right at the cap. The Eagles will need to be at least 3-5 million dollars under the cap in order to sign their draft picks.

More options to beat the cap down and moves to come?

The most important need to be under the salary cap by March 14th is complete, but the Eagles could still proceed with clearing out cap space. The Eagles would seem to be excessively deep at defensive line at the moment and defensive ends Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry have interesting contract situations. There could be movement with one of these players sooner than later and speculation is on Vinny Curry whose production didn’t seem to match his price tag. But Graham is in the last year of his contract and would assuredly and understandingly prefer to have a long-term deal in place heading into 2018. The Eagles could clear cap space by trading either player or by restructuring/extending their contracts. Rumors are that both players are heavily sought after and have been in the discussion of a potential trade.”

For more intelligent speculation on what happens next with the most likely moves to come, check out Leo Pizzini’s massive analytic article at Eagles Blitz Blog.

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