The Eagles have created salary cap space by restructuring tackle Lane Johnson’s contract, an NFL source said Tuesday.
The team needs to trim approximately $10 million by the start of the new league year Wednesday to get under the $177.2 million cap for 2018. They’ll get about $7.5 million in savings by reworking Johnson’s deal.
The all-pro right tackle’s cap number went from approximately $12.484 million to about $4.98 million when the Eagles took his base salary ($10.25 million) and a roster bonus ($250,000) and fully guaranteed $9.71 million in a signing bonus. Half ($4.855 million) will be paid on April 1 and the other half in October. The remaining $790,000 will be Johnson’s fifth-year league-minimum base salary.
The shifting of money will create a bigger cap hit in the last three years of Johnson’s contract, but the Eagles are concerned about the present. They are also expected to restructure a few more deals to get under the cap by 4 p.m. Wednesday. They’ll have additional room to spend in free agency after the trade that sent wide receiver Torrey Smith to the Panthers goes through and after they release a few players, the most prominent likely being defensive end Vinny Curry.
The Eagles have long been one of the more fiscally sound NFL teams, but a year off from being in charge of personnel and some aggressive signings that ultimately led to a Super Bowl championship have forced executive Howie Roseman to be more creative in getting under the cap in recent seasons. While he acknowledged two weeks ago that the Eagles would have to make some tough decisions this offseason and that some players might have to go, Roseman said he had no major concerns about the cap.
In other words, the Eagles should have leeway to sign a few of their own free agents, possibly linebacker Nigel Bradham, or some second- and third-tier players who will go on the market in a day. If not, Roseman has already shown a willingness to find players via trades — such as the dealing of Smith for cornerback Daryl Worley and a deal that will net them Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett.