Clever trick Eagles used to save cap space with Alshon Jeffery, Malik Jackson


A while back it was reported that the Eagles had restructured the contracts of Alshon Jeffery and Malik Jackson with the intent to cut them.

That’s absolutely true.

The details of those new contracts make it abundantly clear that the Eagles will release both veterans before March 18. If they don’t? Both would have $25 million guaranteed contracts in 2022.

According to a league source, those $25 million contracts for 2022 are triggered if the players are on the roster on the second day of the 2021 league year. It basically guarantees to the players that they’ll be cut and will then be free agents to seek employment elsewhere.

So NFL Network on Monday reported something that we’ve already known for a long time. Jeffery (and Jackson) are definitely going to be gone in a few weeks.

Basically, the Eagles are going to cut Jeffery and Jackson and are going to do so with post-June 1 designations. Had they done that without restructuring their contracts, it wouldn’t have offered any relief until June 1. For a team with a dire need to become cap compliant when the new league year begins on March 17, that wasn’t acceptable.

So instead, the Eagles significantly lowered both players’ base salaries from their initial cost to $2 million each, which also greatly reduced their cap hits. The Eagles will still use their two post-June 1 designations on Jeffery and Jackson, but they also get to save money immediately too.

I want to give a tip of the cap to OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald, who figured out immediately what the Eagles were doing back in early January without even seeing the contract numbers. He was really close with his guesses.

But now I have the real contract numbers and even though I already outlined them in an all-encompassing salary cap story last week, it can’t hurt to go into a little more detail with Jeffery and Jackson, because it is a pretty clever way to handle this.

Alshon Jeffery

Initial 2021 base salary: $12,750,000

Initial 2021 cap hit: $18,486,500

New 2021 base salary: $2 million

New 2021 cap hit: $7,590,735

Cap savings (for now): $10,895,765

Basically, by reducing Alshon’s base salary in 2021 by $10 million, the Eagles save around $10 million in cap space. (The top 51 rule means that any cap savings is actually around $800,000 less because Jeffery will be replaced by the 52nd guy.) They’re going to cut Alshon with a post-June 1 designation which means they’ll carry that full $7.59 million figure through June 1, at which point they’ll save another $2 million in cap space (his base salary), but will still be left with around $5.5 million in dead money since he won’t be on the team in 2021. The Eagles will also have dead money figure of just over $5.4 million in 2022.

The Eagles need to cut Jeffery by March 18 or it triggers that $25 million guaranteed salary for the 2022 season.

Malik Jackson

Initial 2021 base salary: $9 million 

Initial 2021 cap hit: $13,611,000

New 2021 base salary: $2 million

New 2021 cap hit: $5,611,000

Cap savings (for now): $8 million

The Eagles reduced Jackson’s base salary by $7 million and they won’t have to pay his $1 million roster bonus so that’s how they save $8 million in cap space. They’ll also cut him with a post-June 1 designation, which means they’ll carry his cap hit of $5.6 million through June 1 and then get an additional $2 million in savings. There will be dead money in 2021 (just over $3.6 million) and 2022 (just over $9 million).

Like with Jeffery, the Eagles need to cut Jackson by March 18 or it triggers that $25 million guaranteed salary for the 2022 season.

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