Seven Eagles Who Could Be On The Roster Bubble
The Eagles are entering their second weekend of Offseason Training Activities (OTAs) from May 30-31 and with Fletcher Cox joining the team for second week of Voluntary Workouts, most of the team will now be together at the Nova Care Center. June 1st is coming, the day NFL teams can make roster cuts that lessen the blow against their Salary Cap for the upcoming season. According to Over The Cap and Sportarc the Eagles have $176,343,391 counting against their Salary Cap for the 2017 season, leaving them with only a couple Million available before cuts are made.
So lets take a look at different players who could be on the bubble to make the final 53-man roster for the 2017 season, my projections for their futures and how that could effect the Salary Cap:
-2017 Salary: $944,418
-Dead Cap Hit if Cut: $0
-Summary: With the Eagles signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason combined with drafting Shelton Gibson and Mack Hollins, DGB has an uphill battle on the Wide Receivers' Depth Chart. The expectation is that Jeffrey, Smith, Gibson, Hollins, along with Jordan Matthews all make the final roster while Nelson Agholor will be less expensive to keep on the team than cut, it appears the former Second Round Pick of the Tennessee Titans will be the odd man out after an underwhelming 2016 season.
-Chances to make the Roster: Slim to None - The only chance Dorial Green-Beckham has to avoid being cut before the start of the 2017 season is if any Wide Outs ahead of him on the Depth Chart suffer a significant injury.
-2017 Salary: $2,481,531
-Dead Cap Hit if Cut: $0
-Summary: After three seasons in the NFL, many people are still unsure why Marcus Smith was drafted in the First Round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Despite 2016 being his best statistical season (2.5 Sacks and 12 Total Tackles) the Eagles actions this offseason show that their confidence in Smith to be a contributor for this team is practically nonexistent. The signing of veteran Chris Long and using their First Round Draft Pick on Derek Barnett are both signs that Smith is buried so far down the Defensive Ends Depth Chart, it may be a forgone conclusion he doesn't make the team.
-Chances to make the Roster: Slim to None - Similar to DGB, the only way I see Smith making the 2017 53-man roster is if there are injuries to other Defensive Ends.
-2017 Salary: $5,000,000
-Dead Cap Hit if Cut: $1,000,000
-Summary: After sustaining a neck injury as the 2016 season came to an end, Ryan Mathews looked like he could be a Salary Cap Casualty as soon as he was Medically Cleared. The signing of LeGarrette Blount appears to be the 'Nail In The Coffin' to Mathews tenure in Philadelphia. Mathews has suffered an injury plagued career in the NFL, only appearing in 14 Games or more in two out of his seven seasons. When healthy Mathews did rush for Eight Touchdowns so its safe to assume Blount will assume the role of Power Running Back.
-Chances to make the Roster: None - Mathews has not been referred to much this offseason by Doug Pederson or Howie Roseman when looking ahead to the 2017 season and with a plethora of Running Backs currently under contract, Mathews might as well start packing his bags now.
-2017 Salary: $6,600,000
-Dead Cap Hit if Cut: $1.6 Million or $3.2 Million Post-June 1st
-Summary: Mychal Kendricks appeared to be in Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz's 'Dog House' last season in which he started Eight out of 15 Games, tallying 23 Total Tackles, One Pass Defended, along with zero Sacks and Interceptions. Considering his name appearing in trade rumors this offseason, Kendricks may again be in search of a role in the Eagles Defense in 2017. Thanks to Chip Kelly, Kendricks received a four-year, $29 million contract extension in 2015 with $16.4 million guaranteed; as a result cutting Kendricks would save some money against the Salary Cap for 2017 but would be more of a savings if cut next offseason. With Joe Walker returning from injury and the Eagles claiming Steven Daniels off waivers, Kendricks looks to be in a battle for playing time at Linebacker.
-Chances to make the Roster: 50-50 Possibility - With Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham appearing to be clear cut starters at Linebacker, the Eagles will likely utilize OTAs, Training Camp and Preseason to determine if they want to keep Kendricks on the roster for the 2017 or if Walker and Daniels perform well enough to earn playing time in his stead.
-2017 Salary: $6,200,000
Dead Cap Hit if Cut: $1.2 Million Post-June 1st
-Summary: With a new Quarterback behind him for the 2016 season, Jason Kelce led all Centers in the NFL with Penalties Committed with Eight; that statistic does not include all of the miscommunication errors between him and Wentz last season. Despite being a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2014, 2016) Kelce is an undersized Center by NFL standards, weighing in last season under 300 pounds and is known as a more athletic than physical blocker. But Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman have re-iterated their support for him as their starting Center, multiple times referring to Kelce's "intelligence". But they have also stated they view Isaac Seumalo as an NFL Starting Center, yet Seumalo is taking snaps at Left Guard with the First Team at OTAs so far this offseason.
-Chances to make the Roster: 70-80 Percent Likelihood - With the injury sustained by Undrafted Free Agent Tyler Orlosky paired with Isaac Seumalo appearing to be in a position battle at Left Guard and Stefen Wisniewski relegated to the role of Backup Interior Lineman, Kelce looks to be entering the 2017 season as the starter at Center for the Fifth Straight year.
-2017 Salary: $775,000
-Dead Cap Hit if Cut: $0
-Summary: Dwayne Gratz has started 25 Games over his four seasons in the NFL, most of which while a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. During his three full seasons in Jacksonville, Gratz compiled Three Interceptions, 13 Passes Defended and 86 Tackles. Its apparent Gratz was signed to provide depth for a position in Cornerback that seriously lacked depth in 2016. Doug Pederson stated before the start of OTAs that Patrick Robinson and Jalen Mills are slotted as the starters at Corner to start the offseason voluntary workouts, which leaves the Nickel, Dime and Backup Cornerback positions to be battled out by Gratz, Ron Brooks, CJ Smith, Aaron Grymes and Rookie Rasul Douglas. If Douglas performs up to expectations and Ron Brooks shows a full recovery from injury last season, the final Cornerback spot on the roster could come down to Gratz and Smith. Smith's experience in the Eagles defense along with his ability to be productive on Special Teams could give him the advantage over Gratz.
-Chances to make the Roster: 50-50 Chance - Cornerback is a position that needed to be upgraded this offseason but with Second Round Pick Sidney Jones recovering from injury, Gratz could earn himself a roster spot if he can outperform Ron Brooks, CJ Smith and/or Aaron Grymes during OTAs and Training Camp.
-2017 Salary: $615,000
-Dead Cap Hit if Cut: $0
-Summary: Josh Andrews is entering the final year of a three year deal he signed back in 2015; he was an Undrafted Free Agent and will be a Restricted Free Agent this coming offseason. He has been on the roster as a versatile backup Offensive Lineman who can play at both Center and Guard. But his spot of the roster may be in jeopardy with Stefen Wisniewski signing a three year contract this offseason along with the signing of former first round draft pick Chance Warmack (whose College Offensive Line coach is now the Eagles Offensive Line Coach, Jeff Stoutland). Andrews may be the odd man out when the roster is cut down to 53.
-Chances to make the Roster: 33-45 Percent Possibility - The Eagles have some interesting decisions to make about the backup Offensive Lineman with Andrews, Dillon Gordon, Dallas Thomas, Matt Tobin and converted Defensive to Offensive Tackle Taylor Hart. Andrews and Tobin have more offensive line versatility than Thomas and Hart which helps their case to make the roster, but ultimately it will be a numbers game and all of these backups will not make the final cuts.