For all the criticism Eagles EVP of football operations Howie Roseman gets, the one thing most people seem to agree on is the idea he does a pretty good job when it comes to managing the salary cap. While that assertion isn’t totally off base, the problem with it is that the Eagles currently have the lowest amount of cap space in the NFL. That’s due to the fact Philadelphia spent a lot of money last offseason. And not all of that money was well spent.
Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap put together a list of the 30 worst contract signings that took place in 2016. Two of the 30 contracts were handed out by the Eagles. (Hat tip Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.)
Checking in at No. 7 is Vinny Curry.
The Eagles made some supersized investments in their own last offseason but none was more surprising than this huge contract for Curry. Curry was a part time player under Chip Kelly and perhaps they expected that to change with a new coach, expect it didn’t. Curry only had 2.5 sacks and failed to even pass the 40% snap mark. For a healthy player he was one of the worst investments on a per snap basis.
If you read BGN regularly (first of all, thank you!) you’re probably tired of me bashing the Curry signing by now. I won’t lie: I didn’t hate it so much at the time. But the reality is it looks terrible for the Eagles right now. Philadelphia signed him to five years, $46 million just so he could ride the bench behind a totally miscast and ineffective Connor Barwin last season. His 2.5 sacks were the same amount of Marcus Smith … and Smith played 200 less snaps.
In Curry’s defense, he did start the 2016 season with an injury. Curry claims he was never fully effective due to his compromised health. And even though his sack numbers weren’t great, he still generated decent pressure according to PFF stats.
But excuses only go so far. It doesn’t seem like the Eagles have full faith in him bouncing back this year. Otherwise they wouldn’t have viewed defensive end as such a big need; Philadelphia signed Chris Long in free agency and drafted Derek Barnett with the No. 14 overall pick. At age 29, it’s not like Curry has a ton of upside left. He’s shown nice pass rush ability throughout his career (nine sacks in 2014), but he needs to step up in 2017. It remains to be seen how much Curry, who holds the fifth biggest cap figure on the roster, will even play given the additions of Long and Barnett.
Can you guess the Eagles signing that got rated as the second worst deal of 2016? You probably can! It’s Chase Daniel’s three-year, $21 million signing.
I think I tried to justify this at some point using the logic that Sam Bradford was an injury risk, but $7 million a year for a guy who threw two passes the prior year and had zero track record is really impossible to justify. Once the Eagles made the move for Carson Wentz this just became a waste of cap room. The Eagles cut Daniel after deciding to bring back Nick Foles. The Eagles ended up paying Daniel $12 million for 1 pass. Right now they are hoping to recover an extra $900,000 of that, which is what the Saints were willing to pay Daniel to backup Drew Brees.
I defended the Daniel signing with the argument that you can never invest too many resources into the quarterback position if you don’t have a franchise player at that spot. I didn’t mind the Eagles taking a chance on Daniel given Sam Bradford’s mediocre (at best) track record and the uncertainty the Eagles would be able to get a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. At the time of the Daniel signing, the Eagles were set to pick at No. 8.
But there’s no denying Daniel’s contract ended up being a big failure for Philadelphia. Maybe he helped Carson Wentz in his development, but it’s hard to precisely gauge the effectiveness of that assistance. It’s not like Wentz had the best rookie year. Even if Daniel did help Wentz, the Eagles spent a lot of money for it.
It’d be one thing if Daniel was an overpaid backup who was able to help the Eagles this year if Wentz went down. But that’s not even the case because he essentially forced his way out of Philadelphia. He counts $7 million against the cap this season. His desired departure also forced the Eagles into the market for a new backup quarterback, which means they had to spend even more money ($1.6 cap hit in 2017 for Nick Foles).
There’s one player featured on Over The Cap’s list who plays for the Eagles because wasn’t signed by Philadelphia in 2016. I’m talking about one of the Eagles’ veteran 2017 free agent signings: Patrick Robinson.
The former first round pick was able to use a “prove it” contract with the Chargers to land this $14 million contract and help to supposedly solidify the Colts secondary. Robinson appeared in just 7 games, battling injuries every step of the way. The Colts released him after the year was over despite potentially owing him another million. Robinson’s stock dropped so much he signed for the minimum with the Eagles this year. If he fails to make the Eagles team the Colts will have paid him $6 million for those 7 games.
The Eagles signed Robinson to a one-year minimum deal worth $775,000 with zero guaranteed money. So Philly doesn’t have anything to worry about if he doesn’t pan out. Robinson will potentially compete for a starting job this season.
One of the most depressing aspects of this list isn’t just that there are two Eagles players featured on it. It’s that not a single NFC East team outside of the Eagles appears on this list. No mention of the Cowboys, Giants, or Washington.