STARTING TUESDAY at noon, Howie Roseman can twist the tamper-proof lid off free agency.
The NFL's "legal tampering period" means the Eagles' de facto general manager can officially talk terms with agents, though he can't come to agreement with them until 4 p.m. Thursday.
In reality, Roseman wouldn't be very good at his job if he didn't have a solid idea already of what the contract range will be for free agents he has targeted, and if he didn't already know whether those free agents were interested in becoming Eagles.
So, deals will be struck before Thursday, they just can't be announced. The Eagles are expected to add at least one wide receiver (Terrelle Pryor is the hot name this week), and quite possibly a veteran cornerback. Those might not end up being top-of-the-market names. In fact, an agent for one prominent pending free-agent corner said last week that he had the impression the Eagles' big-money deals for free agents corners who didn't pan out - Nnamdi Asomugha, Byron Maxwell - had soured Roseman on the idea, especially in such a deep corner draft year.
But given that they've already jettisoned one starting corner, Leodis McKelvin, and that the other, Nolan Carroll, is set to become a free agent this week, the team might need to do more than just wait for the draft, despite what Roseman said last week about possibly having to live with holes in the roster for a few months.
Overthecap.com pegs the Eagles with $8.7 million of cap room, a figure they can nearly double by trading or releasing defensive end Connor Barwin ($8.35 million cap number, only $600,000 dead money). The Eagles are seeking a trade for Barwin, a league source said. Given the high regard the organization has for what he has done here, on and off the field, one would think that if a trade can't be arranged quickly, Barwin will be released - particularly since the Eagles really need the cap room.
The injury status (neck) of running back Ryan Mathews seems to be all that is keeping him from being released, a move that would create another $3 million in space. Guard Allen Barbre's agent has been given permission to seek a trade; another $2.1 million will come free when Barbre departs. Planning to do without Barbre would seem to make Isaac Seumalo the starting left guard, not the center, thus keeping Jason Kelce on the books, but that is hardly official. The team could have some other plan for left guard, and for the $3.8 million in cap savings it could realize with Kelce gone.
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks (a $1.8 million savings) isn't a good scheme fit and ought to have some trade value. A report floated over the weekend about teams having interest in acquiring backup QB Chase Daniel, whose departure would save $6 million. That seemed like the sort of report that would come from a team that would like to drum up some interest in trading for Chase Daniel.
Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan becomes a free agent this week. It would seem the only way he returns is if the market is unexpectedly terrible and he has to take a one-year deal to try again next year. Others ready to leave the nest include Bryan Braman, Najee Goode, Stephen Tulloch and Stefen Wisniewski. Kenjon Barner and Trey Burton are restricted, with Burton reportedly having received a second-round tender. (In an excellent tight end draft year, nobody is giving up a second-round pick for Trey Burton.) The Eagles have already reupped exclusive-rights free agent Jaylen Watkins.
Another report indicated the Eagles would be willing to listen to offers for their only decent wide receiver, Jordan Matthews. That sounds absurd, but Matthews is entering the final year of his rookie deal and the team might think his numbers - 225 catches, the most in team history for a player in his first three seasons, 2,673 yards, third-most in team history, and 19 touchdowns, tied for fourth-most in team history - give him some justification for wanting a long-term deal for more than they think he's worth. Going forward, the Eagles surely want to have at least one and maybe two receivers better than Matthews. They might not be able to afford a pricey second or third option.
But trading him before you actually have those receivers would be pretty strange.
Monday, the 49ers cut 28-year-old wideout Torrey Smith, a player drafted by Baltimore when Eagles player personnel vice president Joe Douglas was there. The Eagles looked into trading for Smith last season. He was a huge disappointment in San Francisco, and his numbers have declined each of the last four seasons.