Eagles starting to benefit from ‘title chasers,’ cut Brent Celek

Eagles starting to benefit from ‘title chasers,’ cut Brent Celek

The Eagles’ defensive line, as it stood Tuesday afternoon (in the fast changing NFL offseason environment) is an absolute terror.

Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, the recently traded-for-Michael Bennet and now Haloti Ngata will man the inside, while Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Chris Long and Vinny Curry come around the outside.

Ngata is the latest new Eagle to jump on the bandwagon, following rumors Monday that the soon-to-be-cut Ndamukong Suh wanted to join the defending NFL champs.

Tuesday, amid a flurry of offseason announcement from insiders like Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter, Philadelphia agreed to a one-year deal with the former Lions tackle. Ngata had just two sacks in five games last year, but when healthy, he is a healthy run-stuffer. At 34-years-old, he is likely looking to make a run at a Super Bowl.

To make room for Ngata, and for perhaps cornerback Patrick Robinson — with whom the Eagles are reportedly close to retaining — Howie Roseman turned to his best weapon: the calculator.

He and the Birds front office manipulated the contract of offensive tackle Lane Johnson to offset some of his $12.5 million cap hit to just under $5 million. The $7.5 million in savings almost gets the Eagles under the number they need to be under the cap when the new league year starts Wednesday at 4 p.m. It also allows Philly to keep the aformentioned Curry, who was the subject of cut rumors (though he still may be let go or restructured).

The Eagles also made a terribly harsh decision — but one many say is necessary in cutting Brent Celek. The longest tenured Eagle will save the Birds $4 million in cap space. There is still a chance he returns at a much smaller contract, but if not, the Eagles now are in need of a second tight end.

Don’t be surprised if a few other Eagles’ players help the team move money around — like Jason Peters — so the team can add a few more Ngata-like players as they look to build on last year’s depth and injury-versatility.

Two Eagles who will 100 percent definitely not return next season are Beau Allen, who the team is letting go with the Ngata signing, and Trey Burton.

Burton, known now for throwing the “Philly Special” touchdown pass on fourth down in Super Bowl LII, inked a huge deal with the Bears Tuesday. The one-time third tight end in Philly will be paid $32 million over four years when he officially signs with Chicago.

As the Eagles manuver to create cap space, they are also prowling the trade market and the status of Nick Foles will be the topic of conversation all offseason long. A few teams are off the market for quarterbacks, as Drew Brees signed a two-year, $50 million deal with New Orleans, Case Keenum reportedly agreed to play for the Broncos, and Kirk Cousins agreed to a likely three-year, $84 million deal with Minnesota.

This leaves the Jets, Cardinals and Dolphins as the few teams that may be interested in giving Philly the return they want for Foles — at least a first rounder.

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