Oh yeah, it’s early. A lot can change between now and the start of free agency and the draft. That’s why we call it an “early look”. Last week we dove into Wide Receivers and Running Backs, this week we look at the rest of the offense.
We start with the easiest group to break down. Carson Wentz will be here for a long time, but what about his backup? Chase Daniel makes a ridiculous 7 million dollars in 2017, but cutting him would only save you 1 million, so that wouldn’t make any sense financially. Plus there isn’t another quarterback on the roster, so Daniel will absolutely be back. Look for the Eagles to draft or sign another QB in the offseason to possibly replace Daniel as the backup in 2018, when cutting him would make more financial sense. We know Howie Roseman holds a high value on his draft picks and they have a lot of needs to fill, but you can never have enough quarterbacks. Here is an early list of the quarterback prospects coming out in 2017.
Zach Ertz showed potential at the end of the season (again) and his rapport with Carson Wentz should give Eagles fans a reason to be excited. Ertz signed a $42.5 million dollar extension in the offseason, so he’ll be here for years to come.
Brent Celek also signed a contract extension last offseason and will count a hefty $5 million against the cap in 2017. Celek is one of the leaders on the team and one of the longest tenured athletes in the city, but his production has declined in the past few seasons and he caught an alarmingly low 14 receptions in 2016. I don’t care how good of a blocker or leader you are, that’s way too much money, but you would have very little savings by cutting him, so he’s pretty much a lock to remain with the team.
Trey Burton showed a lot of versatility and potential in his 3rd season. A special-teams stalwart in his first two campaigns, Burton added pass catcher to his resume in 2016 and you could see Wentz’s confidence in him as the season went on. Overall, he hauled in 37 catches for 327 yards and 1 TD and he should get a raise in 2017. He’s a restricted-free-agent and could field offers from any team, with the Eagles having the right to match, but can they afford to keep him? Ertz and Celek are already counting 10.6 million against the cap. The Eagles might try to sign him long-term at a team friendly price, perhaps back loading the contract.
Does Jason Peters stay or go? That could be one of the biggest decisions for Howie Roseman this offseason. Peters will be 35 years old later this month and is still playing at a high level, but at some point, you would expect him to start going backwards. His cap number for 2017 may also be a problem. Peters is scheduled to count $11.2 million, a lot of money for a 35 year old tackle. More importantly though, the Eagles could save over 9 million by cutting him. Lane Johnson signed a long term extension and is being paid like a left tackle. It might be the right time to give him the job.
I’d expect almost everyone else back or at least competing for a job in camp. Guard Steven Wisniewski is a free agent and I’d be surprised if the Eagles were interested in bringing him back.
Jason Kelce had a decent 2016 and will no doubt be back, debates will continue if he is worth his $5 million salary and $6 million in 2018. That’s a lot of money for a player who gets pushed around at times.