Didn’t See This Coming

Posted: March 7th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Eagles are over the cap. They have to cut some salaries and make careful moves. Don’t expect anything too crazy this offseason.

What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here?

The Eagles made a big move. They added a versatile, athletic DL who can get to the QB. There is a lot to be excited about with the acquisition. Bennett is a productive player, averaging 8 sacks per year since 2012. He has also averaged 9 TFLs per year in that time. Bennett is highly disruptive.

The downside…he’s 32 and isn’t cheap.

Obviously this move is only a single piece of the puzzle. At least one other DL has to go. Vinny Curry is the logical choice, with an $11M salary this year. Curry had a good year in 2017, but he’s just not as good as Bennett. The problem is that you can’t add Bennett and move Curry and save money at the same time.

Bennett has a salary of $1.65M this year, which is cheap. But he’s due a roster bonus of $5M. That pushes his cap figure up quite a bit. Obviously the Eagles know these numbers and they have a plan. You don’t go make a deal for Bennett and just say “We’ll figure out the money later.” That’s not how the NFL works. Howie Roseman and cap guru Jake Rosenberg have a plan.

There are going to be some contract changes with players on the roster and there could be some players let go. What this move tells you is that the Eagles weren’t going to just rest on the Super Bowl victory. Howie is trying to make the roster even better.

How does Bennett fit in? That’s an interesting question. You could put him at RDE, with Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan rounding out the starting line. I guess it is possible Derek Barnett could start at RDE. What’s certain is that Bennett will play a lot and will move around. One of the keys in getting him is that he is such a good interior pass rusher. Bennett is quick, powerful, has excellent body control and knows how to use his hands. He can fly off the edge or beat an C/G up the middle.

The Eagles looked at several DT/DE tweeners at the Senior Bowl. I thought that might be a position they would target. Veteran QBs who threw the ball quickly gave the Eagles fits last year. Bennett could play a lot of DT in those games and would give you someone who can get free up the middle. He is 6-4 and around 275 pounds. That’s big for a DE, small for a DT.

Jim Schwartz drafted a player named Jason Jones in Tennessee. Jones was 6-5, 275 and a DE/DT tweener. Schwartz only had him for a year (before going to be head coach in Detroit), but he clearly liked the idea of a long, athletic rusher up the middle. Bennett could be that guy for the Eagles.

Sadly, Beau Allen will probably be leaving in free agency. He deserves good money, but the Eagles are already paying Cox and Jernigan a lot so they need cheap backups. One way to help the DT situation is with a player like Bennett. He can play a lot of snaps inside and let Cox or Jernigan rest. In the playoffs, the Eagles only had 3 DTs in some games. They wanted their best guys on the field. They had Graham play some on the inside (you might recall one play in particular). Bennett just gives you another weapon. You can play all sorts of different line combinations.

Brandon Graham
Derek Barnett
Michael Bennett
Chris Long
Fletcher Cox
Tim Jernigan

The Eagles could add a DT in the draft. They also have young guys like Destiny Vaeao and Elijah Qualls who could take a big step forward this year. That’s a lot of firepower up front.

In terms of value, this is a steal.


Seattle is making major changes in their organization. They shook up the coaching staff, firing both coordinators. They are going to cut or trade Richard Sherman and there are reports that they are shopping Earl Thomas. Bennett is older and Seattle is ready to move on. This feels a bit like the Saints and Darren Sproles in the 2014 offseason. That worked out pretty well for the Eagles.

More moves are coming and some will be tough. I hate to see Curry go. He’s been an Eagle his whole career and he’s a local guy. That’s the kind of player you want to stay here. But football is a business and Bennett is just a better player.

So much for the quiet offseason…