The Eagles have indeed created millions in cap space, with the simple stroke of a pen.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has signed a restructured contract that pushes a large chunk of his 2018 and 2019 compensation into future years, adding extra space this year and next year. The specific details appear below.
Per a source with knowledge of the contract, the Eagles converted $8.19 million in remaining 2018 salary to a bonus that will prorate at $1.638 million per year through 2022. The net 2018 cap savings becomes $6.552 million.
Come next year, $14.67 million of Cox’s $15.6 million base salary becomes payable as an option bonus, reducing his base salary to $930,000. The device drops the cap number arising from the $14.67 million payment to $2.934 million per year, through 2023. The option bonus creates $11.736 million in cap space, with a net cap reduction (given the 2018 cap savings) of $10.098 million for 2019.
That’s a total cap savings over the next two years of $16.65 million. The cap dollars don’t disappear, however. The shifting of dollars increases Cox’s future cap numbers by $2.547 million in 2020, $5.247 million in 2021, and $5.247 million in 2022. It also adds one more contract year that will void, but that will carry a cap charge of $3.509 million. Add it all up, and that’s $16.55 million.
(If the reduction for 2020 seems low, there’s a reason for that. The contract includes a second option bonus of $2.7 million in 2020. It will be spread over 2020 through 2023 at a rate of $675,000 per year, reducing the otherwise inflated 2020 cap number by $2.025 million.)
The next question becomes what will the Eagles do with the extra cap space? Some think it will be devoted to a trade for running back Le'Veon Bell or running back LeSean McCoy. It also can be used on a new deal for quarterback Carson Wentz. Or it can be automatically rolled over, if the Eagles decide not to use it.
Still, it would be odd to create that much 2018 and 2019 cap space without having a plan for it. Eventually, we’ll all find out what that plan is.