Hassan Ridgeway's 1-year Eagles deal is a low-risk, high-reward move


The Eagles signed Hassan Ridgeway to another one-year deal this offseason with the hopes that Ridgeway will finally be able to stay healthy.

But because Ridgeway, 26, has played in just 19 games over the last three years, they didn’t have to pay very much to keep him.

In fact, Ridgeway’s new one-year deal pays him the veteran minimum for someone with his level of service and will count even less toward the Eagles’ salary cap because it’s a salary cap benefit deal.

Here are some of the specifics of Ridgeway’s one-year, $1.09 million deal, according to a league source:

Guaranteed: $80,000

Base salary: $990,000

Signing bonus: $80,000

Sacks incentive: $37,500

Workout bonus: $20,000

Salary cap hit: $950,000

So the only guaranteed money in Ridgeway’s contract is his signing bonus. So if he doesn’t make the team for some reason — or if he isn’t healthy — the Eagles can move on easily. But they’d prefer to keep him healthy as their third DT in the rotation behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. When he’s been on the field, Ridgeway has played well and has real pass rush ability.

The veteran salary benefit allows teams to offer a qualifying contract to any player with at least four credited seasons at a reduced cap hit. These deals include a base salary at whatever level of service the player has attained (for Ridgeway that’s $990,00) plus an additional $137,500 in compensation. In this case, that’s the signing bonus, workout bonus and sacks incentive. Instead of Ridgeway’s entire $990,00 base salary counting toward the cap, just $850,000 counts. (This is to encourage teams to sign veterans.)

But assuming that Ridgeway needs to get more than one sack like he did last season, that sacks incentive will be a not likely to be earned incentive and won’t count against the cap.

Because of the Eagles’ tight cap situation in 2021, they have made a concerted effort to limit cap hits during this offseason for the four players they have signed. Like Ridgeway’s deal, Andrew Adams also got a veteran salary benefit deal.

Meanwhile, Anthony Harris and Joe Flacco signed one-year deals but the Eagles added four void years to each to spread out their cap hits into next season.

So here are the cap hits for all four players in 2021:

Harris: $1,592,000

Flacco: $1,560,000

Adams: $987,500

Ridgeway: $950,000

All four come in at a total cap hit of $5,089,500.

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