How Covid-19 is Impacting Eagles, NFL Business

Ed Kracz

Veteran players that could help teams remain on the sidelines and rookie contracts have been slow to negotiate, two very real side effects to the NFL’s business structure waylaid by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By this time last year, the Eagles had already signed all five of their draft picks to contracts. They had signed linebacker Zach Brown and guard Stefen Wisniewski in May’s final wave of free agency, and on June 6, 2019, signed quarterback Carson Wentz to a four-year contract extension.

Extensions are another thing altogether.

The Eagles would like to extend the contract of tight end Zach Ertz and tried to do it last fall, but Ertz decided to wait. Getting a deal done now is even trickier when you factor in the very real possibility that the salary cap will decrease – another unfortunate offshoot of the pandemic.

The only thing the Eagles have done since the draft ended on April 26 was sign running back Corey Clement three days later.

There are veteran free agents still waiting to prove to teams in person what they have left while front-office types, such as the Eagles’ Howie Roseman, are waiting to see how their team looks on an actual grass field and not just a face on a computer.

Four former Eagles are waiting for a deal: left tackle Jason Peters, linebacker Nigel Bradham, defensive lineman Vinny Curry, and running back LeSean McCoy.

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Logan Ryan, and running back Devonta Freeman also remain unsigned.

You don’t think there’s a team out there anywhere that you could use each of them?

As for the rookies, a snail moves faster than deals being negotiated at the moment.

The only draft pick of the 10 the Eagles took to sign, so far, is sixth-rounder Prince Tega Wanogho from Auburn. It is projected that Wanogho signed a four-year deal worth more than $3.4 million with a signing bonus of almost $150,000.

It’s probably no great surprise that, as of June 12, just 60 of the 255 players drafted last April remain unsigned because teams cannot get a guy into their buildings to take physicals and finalize deals. The NFL’s latest memo indicates that they won’t be able to until rookies report to camp in July, provided it is safe to do so.

By comparison, on June 12, 2019, 222 of 254 draft picks had signed, with 22 first-rounders in the fold.

Somehow, though, the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots have managed to sign all their draft picks, but 16 teams – half the league – have yet to sign any of them.

New England selected 10 players in the draft; Buffalo seven.

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