Assembling a Super Bowl-winning roster left the Philadelphia Eagles with a tight salary-cap situation entering the 2018 offseason.
Among other cap projections, Spotrac had the defending Lombardi Trophy winners roughly $10 million over this year's cap at the start of this week, meaning they had the least amount of cap space of any team in the NFL.
Just about three-quarters of that $10 million was wiped away in one fell swoop a day before the official start of free agency, however, and the Eagles did it with the help of one of their star players -- Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson.
Two years into a five-year, $56-million extension he signed in 2016, Johnson has agreed to reduce his 2018 base salary from $10.25 million to just $790,000 in order to save the Eagles about $7.5 million in current cap space, ESPN's Field Yates reported Tuesday. The restructure will ultimately still pay Johnson what he was due to make in 2018, albeit in different ways, and it brings Philadelphia within a couple million dollars of being cap compliant for the start of the new league year on Wednesday.
The Johnson deal, per Yates, will now largely pay the veteran right tackle through bonuses, and it comes as little surprise to area media. As The Philadelphia Inquirer's Zach Berman said at the end of February, Eagles personnel chief Howie Roseman, the man behind the Birds' Super Bowl-winning depth chart, anticipated the team's cap situation long before his team captured the Lombardi.
Re: Eagles' cap situation -- H. Roseman + J. Rosenberg didn't wake up Feb. 5 and suddenly examine a payroll. Eagles have been planning for this. Not to belittle situation, but this regime has found ways to navigate when it seemed challenging past two years. They'll be OK w/ cap.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) February 28, 2018
The extra space will come in handy, too, as ESPN's Adam Schefter noted on Twitter. The Eagles are already expected to finalize a trade for the Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett upon the official start of free agency.
Eagles – who will be in need of cap space when the new league year begins tomorrow to facilitate moves such as the trade for Michael Bennett – have created $7.5M in cap space by restructuring the contract of offensive tackle Lane Johnson, as @FieldYates reported.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2018