The legal tampering started at noon Monday, but the opening hours of the two-day period when the agents of unrestricted free agents can begin negotiating with all 32 teams went by quietly for the Eagles.
The Eagles have 13 unrestricted free agents and one restricted free agent on their roster. Players can begin signing elsewhere at 4 p.m. Wednesday, by which point the Eagles must be compliant with the salary cap. The Eagles have until then to release players or restructure contracts to clear nearly $10 million of space. News should start trickling out during the next two days. Trades cannot become official until after 4 p.m. Wednesday, when the new league year begins.
The day started with an NFL Network report that the Eagles were working toward re-signing cornerback Patrick Robinson with the expectation that they would reach a deal before the tampering period opened. That never materialized, and the Eagles’ slot cornerback was free to hear the offers from the other 31 teams. Robinson excelled for the Eagles as their slot cornerback and was a key part of their defense, although the 30-year-old played for $775,000 last season and would be costlier for the Eagles to keep in 2018 and beyond. They are deeper than they’ve ever been at cornerback, so the question could come down to price.
There was also an NFL Network report that tight end Trey Burton has generated a “robust market,” with about six serious suitors. Burton, 26, caught five touchdown passes last seasons and threw the touchdown to Nick Foles on the “Philly Special” play in the Super Bowl. He spent his entire four-year career with the Eagles, although with Zach Ertz entrenched as the No. 1 tight end, the Eagles cannot offer Burton a starting job and will likely be priced out.
The biggest news of the day was the Buffalo Bills agreeing to trade left tackle Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati in a package that will move the Bills from No. 21 to No. 12 in the first round of April’s draft. It appears to be a similar strategy to what the Eagles used in 2016 when Howie Roseman put together a series of trades to position them to draft Carson Wentz. The Bills are in search of a franchise quarterback.
Elsewhere in the NFL, reports surfaced that the Miami Dolphins were set to release star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh midway through a six-year, $114 million deal. Suh, who is one of the NFL’s top defensive players, excelled for Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz when both were in Detroit together. But with Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan both on big contracts, the Eagles likely wouldn’t have the money at defensive tackle to entice Suh to come to Philadelphia unless he was willing to take a significant pay cut.
At this point, the Eagles don’t have the money for anything in free agency. Expect that to change on Tuesday and into Wednesday while the Eagles open salary-cap space and navigate the legal tampering period.