Eagles Set to Get Kendricks Cap Relief
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - When it comes to money, things can change overnight for NFL teams this time of the year.
Take the Eagles. As on June 1 no team has less salary-cap space to work with than the Super Bowl champions, a paltry $94,224 according to the official NFLPA numbers.
Relief, however, is on the way in the form of the post-June 1 designation when Philadelphia released veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks at the start of on-field OTAs last month. That means Howie Roseman will have another $6 million is his account in less than 24 hours.
The post-June 1 designation is an accounting tool that enables a team more immediate relief in favor of putting off any dead money on the next year's cap. In the case of Kendricks, simply releasing him in a traditional fashion would have given the Eagles $4.4M of room this season so the other $1.6M would have accelerated onto this year's cap.
The extra money could be used in a number of ways although the perception that Philadelphia would like veteran safety Corey Graham back makes the most sense. The team has also been kicking the tires on veteran bodies at defensive tackle [Courtney Upshaw, Cedric Thornton] after the revelation that back surgery will keep Tim Jernigan on the shelf for four to six months.
Graham, who will turn 33 in July, was an understated but very important part of the Eagles' defense last season. His football IQ and the fact he rarely blew his assignments gave Jim Schwartz the comfort to move star safety Malcolm Jenkins all over the field, something the defensive coordinator admitted last week when asked by 973espn.com about Graham's effect on his game-planning.
"Corey Graham did play a significant part in being able to move Malcolm around," Schwartz said. "Corey was another guy that had played corner, played nickel, played a lot of special teams, and had played safety a little bit like Malcolm. So I think the two keys guys in doing a lot of that stuff, well, the three key guys were Malcolm Jenkins, as you mentioned, [LB] Nigel Bradham, and then Corey Graham. I think all of them were able to play a lot of different positions for us and get us over the hump when it came to injuries."
Right now the leading in-house candidates to handle Graham's third safety role are unproven: former practice-squad player Tre Sullivan and undrafted rookie Jeremy Reaves.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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