The Eagles created significant salary-cap room before the season-opening 32-6 rout of Atlanta by converting most of Fletcher Cox’s 2021 base salary into a signing bonus.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Eagles gave Cox $13.92 million of his $15M base salary upfront to create $11.14M in cap space.
The accounting trick enables Philadelphia to spread the nearly $14M bonus over the remainder of Cox's current contract which runs through 2024.
The short-term maneuverability could be used to work out additional extensions for emerging players like defensive end Josh Sweat and tight end Dallas Goedert.
The bookkeeping was also done on the same day the Eagles signed starting left tackle Jordan Mailata to a four-year, $64M contract extension making that deal easier for Howie Roseman the Eagles to complete.
Other potential candidates for contract extensions in the coming days and weeks include DE Derek Barnett, slot cornerback Avonte Maddox, and even veteran tight end Zach Ertz, who seems to have made a more-than favorable impression on the new coaching staff leading into the 2021 campaign.
Then there are also the veterans on one-year, prove-it deals like linebacker Eric Wilson, CB Steve Nelson, and safety Anthony Harris, who could be candidates for extensions later in the season, especially if they are playing well.
Sweat and/or Goedert remain the most likely initial targets and each played very well in Atlanta, the former graded as the second-best Eagles player on offense behind quarterback Jalen Hurts by ProFootballFocus.com, and the latter being No. 2 on defense behind defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.
Goedert spoke about his contract talks last week.
“We felt we’d have a deal done at this time of the year, but the team has decided to go a different way,” said Goedert perhaps foreshadowing the big Mailata deal.
While the wording of that by Goedert raised some eyebrows an NFL source told SI.com's Eagle Maven that the TE remains a big part of the Eagles' future plans and the extension is expected to get done at some point.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.