CBA Makes It Easier for Eagles to cut Alshon Jeffery

Ed Kracz

It’s too soon to judge whether the newly ratified CBA will be a good or bad deal.

Right now, it guarantees labor peace through 2030 and assures NFL fans that there will not be a lockout like the one that trickled into the start of training camps back in 2011. It also gives fans a 17-game season beginning in 2021. And wasn’t it not too terribly long ago when the NFL’s ratings were in a slump?

Exactly how the new CBA impacts the Eagles we will see soon enough.

The new CBA, which narrowly passed with 51.5 percent of the players’ vote, sets teams’ salary caps at $198.2 million. That leaves the Eagles about $42 million under the cap.

Two Eagles could be affected by the new deal: receiver Alshon Jeffery and defensive end Derek Barnett.

The Eagles still need to decide whether to pick up Barnett’s fifth-year option, but every player drafted in the first round from 2018 on has that fifth year guaranteed. That means last year’s first-round pick, Andre Dillard, will get that fifth year guaranteed should he still be on the roster.

As for Jeffery, the new CBA makes it easier for the team to part ways with their seemingly disgruntled receiver, who is now 30.

With the old CBA, the Eagles would have had to absorb a ridiculous $26 million in dead money, which would be subtracted from their salary cap. Now, with the new CBA, the Eagles could designate Jeffery a post-June 1 cut and be on the hook for “only” $16.7 million.

It is still a large number and may give the Eagles reason to pause, but it’s at least more manageable.

As of now, the Eagles are planning for free agency, which begins Monday with the start of a three-day negotiating window leading up to the start of the league’s new year at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. That is when everything can be officially announced.

However, the national health crisis due to COVID-19 could still alter those plans.

If free agency is allowed to proceed, it will look much different since players won’t be allowed to visit team’s facilities, including the Eagles.

“We've spent the whole (2019) season preparing for this offseason,” general manager Howie Roseman said on the team’s web site prior to the closing of the facility on Friday afternoon. “The preparation for the draft really started last May and the same for free agency, so that's our job.

"Technology is so great. Our IT (information technology) department and our video department do such a great job and that allows us to work from anywhere. Some of us will still have the opportunity to be here."

The Eagles have several free agents and are expected to lose most of them.

The key ones are cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, safety Rodney McLeod, receiver Nelson Agholor, defensive end Vinny Curry, running back Jordan Howard, offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and defensive tackles Timmy Jernigan and Hassan Ridgeway.

"Our interest in getting everything right for September and as we've seen in the past, it's not just about the first day of free agency," said Roseman on the Eagles’ web site. "We're building the roster and looking for ways to improve, every day of the year. That doesn't change."

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