Eagles head coach Doug Pederson would not announce on Tuesday that receiver Alshon Jeffery would miss the remainder of the season, but his body language made it clear that would be the case.
The bigger issue with Jeffery’s season-ending foot injury is long-term, and it is fueled by a crucial mistake by general manager Howie Roseman this past offseason.
In an ideal world, prior to his deal being re-done, the Eagles would have bee able to cut Jeffery this offseason. Jeffery already looked a step slower this season and was a detriment to the offense. Even if Jeffery was on the books for almost no money the Eagles would have likely moved on from him. The cap hit would have been minimal and the decision would have been an easy one.
Now, cutting Jeffery would result in a $27 million cap hit in dead money — an obscene amount to keep on the salary cap and a number that makes an easy decision a nearly impossible one.
Coming off of a serious foot injury, however, it is hard to imagine any team will have interest in bringing in Jeffery. It is hard to imagine Jeffery will improve next season, when he is a year older and coming off of a major injury to his foot.
Here is a breakdown of all the potential outcomes, per OTC:
So if a new deal is indeed put in place, things could change dramatically for the Eagles when it comes to their options with Jeffery.
As of now, however, the Eagles might have no choice but to cut Jeffery and leave the $27 million in dead money on their books. The good news is that the Eagles are currently projected to have $40 million in cap space, and that is before they make any moves to open up even more space, something Roseman does each offseason.
As painful as that would be for a team as cap-conscious as the Eagles, it won’t be an easy pill to swallow.
What they can’t do, almost under any circumstance, is bring back Jeffery next season — no matter the cost or what it takes.
Which is why his foot injury on Monday night made an already bad situation even worse, and creates a major long-term issue for the Eagles.