The Eagles and tight end Zach Ertz have agreed to a contract restructuring that will create $5.047 million in salary cap space, an NFL source said Thursday.
Of Ertz’s $8 million base salary for 2018, $7.21 million was converted into a fully guaranteed signing bonus. The remaining $790,000 will be his fifth-year, league-minimum, base salary.
The Eagles negotiated a similar restructure with right tackle Lane Johnson that trimmed about $7.5 million from the cap. They entered the offseason about $10 million over the $177.2 million limit. But the Johnson and Ertz restructures and the release of tight end Brent Celek, which cleared $4 million from the books, got them well under the cap.
While helping the Eagles in the present, the shifting of salaries will increase the cap numbers for Johnson and Ertz in the future. Both are coming off Pro Bowl seasons, and the Eagles clearly believe that each will be on the roster for the foreseeable future. But the additional cap dollars for 2019 and beyond could place constraints on the front office. The Eagles, though, have long had one of the more savvy fiscal operations in the NFL.
The space generated by the restructures allowed the Eagles to re-sign linebacker Nigel Bradham to a five-year, $40 million contract Wednesday. They also inked free-agent linebacker Corey Nelson to a one-year deal and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to a one-year, reported $3 million deal.
The Eagles took on Michael Bennett’s contract — a $5.65 million cap hit — when they traded wide receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round draft pick to the Seahawks for the defensive end and a seventh-rounder. But they also gained space when they traded receiver Torrey Smith ($5 million) to the Panthers for cornerback Daryl Worley.
Defensive end Vinny Curry, who has an $11 million cap charge for this season, is likely to be traded or released, and the same could happen to linebacker Mychal Kendricks ($7.6 million). The Eagles would save $5 million with Curry’s trade or release and $4.4 million with Kendricks’.