PHILADELPHIA - The bookkeeping has begun for the Eagles.
With the start of the new league year looming on March 17 and the Eagles significantly north of a projected salary-cap figure that will likely land somewhere between $180 million and $185M, significant tweaks need to be made.
The maneuvering by general manager Howie Roseman actually started with the release of veteran receiver DeSean Jackson a couple of weeks ago, and the pending dismissals of short-term restructures like Alshon Jeffery and Malik Jackson.
That was just the tip of the iceberg.
Over the past 24 hours, the Eagles decided not to tender pending restricted free agent punter Cameron Johnston, something that will make the strong-legged Aussie an unrestricted free agent on March 17, and re-worked the deal of cornerback Darius Slay.
According to NFL Media, the Eagles created $9.14M of cap room by kicking the can down the road a bit with Slay. The veteran CB1 was scheduled to have a 2021 cap figure of $15.75M meaning Philadelphia was able to lower that figure to $6.61M.
OverTheCap.com pegged the Eagles at around $43 million over a projected $185M cap before the Slay restructure, so that means the Eagles still have to figure out $34M in savings or so by March 17.
The team is also working on restructures with defensive end Brandon Graham and right tackle Lane Johnson, which are expected to be finished soon.
Other veterans in line for potential reworks include Fletcher Cox, Brandon Brooks, and Javon Hargrave.
As for Johnston, a tender would have cost the Eagles about $2.13M, which would have counted against the cap immediately whether Johnson signed the offer immediately or not.
Earlier in the offseason, the Eagles signed punter Arryn Siposs to a futures deal, somewhat signifying the plan with Johnston, who has struggled at times with his directional skills.
Johnston averaged 46.7 yards per punt in 2021, which sounds impressive but had also a career-low 41.2 net-yard average. During his three seasons with the Eagles since replacing Donnie Jones, Johnston has a 47-yard gross average and 42.1 net yards per punt. His advance numbers weren't as impressive, however.
The Eagles could still bring Johnson back at a lesser number but now he will have the opportunity to negotiate with other teams.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Thursday on The Middle with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, former Eagles OT Barrett Brooks streaming live on both PhillyVpice.com and SportsMap Radio. 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 EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.