Kudos to bsencore for bringing this nugget from Football Outsiders to our attention:
With Joey Porter in mind, I thought that perhaps the Eagles did not have enough cap room to take on the acceleration associated with terminating Westbrook in 2009. However, as I found out, the Eagles have $4.2 million in cap room, and by terminating Westbrook, would have incurred $1.5 million in acceleration. So the Eagles clearly could have made the termination effective on Tuesday, but it appears that the Eagles are looking to use that $4.2 million in cap room for other purposes. Perhaps the Eagles are looking to use that cap space to release other players in 2009 or simply would prefer to take on Westbrook’s dead money in 2010 rather than 2009.
A few things. First, what the heck, Sam, I thought you said the Eagles used up all of their cap room! Well, yes, they had as of the end of the year. But the thing was that for structuring purposes, a few players had LTBEs that were not achieved in their contracts. Michael Vick, for example, had a $2.26 million incentive that wasn't reached. Those dollars weren't added back to the cap until the season was over, so the Eagles got extra some cap room after the fact.
Second, why aren't they using up the cap room? Well, they still can. But using up Brian Westbrook's 2010 proration isn't the best way to do that. As I mentioned a few months ago, there is some question about what will happen to the prorations for players cut in an uncapped year. As I understand it, it is possible that players' dead money will stay in place. So if a guy had prorations running out to 2014, once the cap is in place, that dead money would remain if the guy were cut in 2010.
However, there is no question or ambiguity about what would happen if the guy were cut (or traded) prior to the 2010 league year. The prorations from 2011 and on would hit the 2009 cap immediately. That would be a way to roll cap space from 2009 to 2011 and beyond, if you think about it ... and I am sure the Eagles have.
So if you were going to cut a guy with that kind of cap hit, you'd do it before March 5.
Who fits that description? Three guys in particular:
- Kevin Curtis: $1 million of prorations from 2010-2012
- Chris Clemons: $2.4 million of prorations from 2010-2012
- Reggie Brown: $3.5 million of prorations from 2010-2012
and let me throw in a fourth for fun:
- Joselio Hanson: $1.82 million of prorations from 2010-2013
Note that Halsell reported a $4.2 million cap space figure, so one could not cut Brown and any of the other guys together, but some combination of the other three is possible.
Another question: could this space be used for an extension? Maybe. For example, you could guarantee a $4 million salary for, say, Jason Avant or Leonard Weaver in 2010, and that would count against 2009 in full, I believe. But that doesn't seem like a probable or even helpful route, given how likely the uncapped year seems right now.
Obviously, this is all sheer speculation. But it seems like speculation that is consistent with how the Eagles operate.