THE CLOCK started ticking Monday, when NFL roster moves became possible, and it tolled in the Eagles' locker room for the first time Wednesday, when the team released cornerback Leodis McKelvin.

The move was not a surprise. McKelvin, 31, struggled last year, his first with the team, as the Eagles' defense nosedived in the second half of the season. McKelvin missed three games with injuries and was hobbled by a hamstring problem in several others.

Releasing McKelvin before the second year of the two-year deal he signed in 2016 saves the Eagles $3.2 million off their salary cap; they are expected to make several moves to gain some cap room for free agency, which starts March 9. Spotrac.com pegged their cap situation fourth-worst in the NFL entering the offseason.

ESPN's Adam Caplan has reported the team has approached left tackle Jason Peters about lowering his $11.2 million 2017 cap number. Connor Barwin, Ryan Mathews, Jason Kelce and Ron Brooks, among others, also could face release or restructuring.

It will be interesting to see what the Eagles do at corner, where the other 2016 starter, Nolan Carroll, also had a disappointing year and is scheduled to become a free agent. The free-agent market at corner doesn't look great, though this is considered a really strong corner draft class. De facto general manager Howie Roseman has disparaged the "Band-Aid" approach the Eagles have taken to the position the past several years.

The Eagles traded corner Eric Rowe, their 2015 second-round draft pick, to the Patriots last September. He ended up playing most of the snaps in the Super Bowl, and could be a full-time New England starter in 2017, especially if the Pats let Logan Ryan become a free agent. In that case, Ryan, from Berlin, N.J., and Rutgers, could become an Eagles target.

The free-agent market isn't completely set yet, with teams still releasing players to clear cap room, and teams unable to use the franchise or transition tags until Feb. 15.

bowenl@phillynews.com

@LesBowen

Blog: philly.com/Eaglesblog