Good morning, Eagles fans. Did you and your family observe June 1 as a holiday? If not, perhaps it’s not too late. The Eagles had about 4 million reasons to celebrate, clearing extra cap space for moves made earlier this offseason and designated to take place Tuesday to save more money this year.
This week is important for the Eagles. It will be the last time players are on the field together before training camp in late July. With Nick Sirianni installing a new offensive scheme and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon doing the same on the defensive side of the ball, there’s presumably plenty of work left to do in the coming days.
A few players will speak with reporters tomorrow at some point, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. Below, we take a look at which June 1 move impacted the Eagles the most.
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With a handful of teams enjoying some newfound salary-cap space after Tuesday, trade talks and free-agency negotiations are bound to get a second wind.
Arguably, the biggest move of Tuesday was the Buffalo Bills’ reportedly restructuring wide receiver Stefon Diggs’ contract. The renegotiation clears about $8 million in cap space for Bills and gives them the freedom to add a player or two via trade or free agency even after they sign their draft picks.
Enter the Eagles and Zach Ertz. Howie Roseman has even greater incentive to move the 30-year-old tight end after Tuesday, with the potential now to save about $8.5 million in space by shopping him instead of the $5 million they’d have cleared by trading him earlier in the offseason. The Bills now have the cap space to take on Ertz’s remaining salary in a trade with the Eagles, and they have a need at tight end.
Even though Ertz was unproductive and injured last season, the Bills are the type of win-now team that would have good reason to take a chance on his returning to his old form. They made it to the AFC Championship Game last season after going 13-3, largely thanks to Josh Allen’s ascending into one of the league’s best young quarterbacks with Diggs as his primary target after an offseason trade sent him to Buffalo.
The Seahawks and Colts have also been reportedly interested in Ertz. Reuniting with Carson Wentz in Indianapolis would make sense for both sides, as would Seattle’s adding another target for Russell Wilson.
But it’s important to note there’s also a chance the Bills have their sights set on a slightly bigger prize with the money they cleared Tuesday. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is also on the trading block. Buffalo is better off at receiver than at tight end, but it’s undeniable that Jones, 32, would do more for the Bills offense than Ertz would.
The price will be higher for Jones with more teams reportedly in the running for him — even the Eagles have reported interest although it’s unclear how serious that might be. Buffalo would likely have to do some more work on the financial side to bring Jones in, but all the work restructuring Diggs’ deal makes it closer.
What you need to know about the Eagles
The Eagles have a great reason to trade Ertz after Tuesday. Les Bowen details the changes that June 1 brought on for the team.
If Ertz’s days as an Eagle are in fact numbered, Mike Sielski offers a reminder to fans that the tight end helped revolutionize the league during his time with the Birds.
The Eagles shuffled their front-office staff last week, including a historic promotion for Catherine Raiche, who became the highest-ranking woman in NFL personnel, as Bowen reports.
Darius Slay might pride himself as a man-coverage corner, but he’s going to be playing a lot more zone this season. As Bowen reports, the veteran defensive back is still confident he’ll be able to make plays.
Eric Wilson has undergone quite the change in circumstances in the last year. Yours truly explains how the free-agent linebacker will lead the Eagles defense from the middle, at least some of the time.
Speaking of confidence, Brandon Brooks has no doubt he’s going to be the same player, if not better, after his second torn Achilles. Bowen has the story.
Rodney McLeod, one of the team’s most active and outspoken members when it comes to social justice and equality, reflected on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd being murdered by police.
From the mailbag
What position should the Eagles sign with the money they would have by trading or releasing Ertz? I say CB. I’m Captain Obvious. — from Jeff (@eagsfan) on Twitter
Good question, Jeff. If the Eagles find themselves with an extra $8 million, I think they’d go with a defensive player. Steven Nelson would be a decent fit as an outside cornerback; he’d certainly be an upgrade over Avonte Maddox. Nelson spent the last two years starting for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was with the Kansas City Chiefs before then. He has started 15 games in each of the last two seasons and earned a 68.1 coverage grade last season.
Recently released edge rusher Sharif Finch could be an intriguing option for the Eagles as well. He played defensive end at Temple, but never saw the field for the Titans as an outside linebacker. He could be an interesting fit in Gannon’s scheme and is familiar with the area for whatever that might be worth (not much). Veteran linebacker K.J. Wright is also available, and would be an upgrade to the group as a whole while also providing an older presence in an extremely young room.