The purpose of the salary cap is to level the playing field as much as possible. Smart teams are careful about how they spend it and do not commit too much to one position. That is what makes the Philadelphia Eagles' approach to the quarterback this off-season bizarre.
They started by signing Sam Bradford to a rather generous two-year, $35 million contract with $21 million guaranteed. He didn't do enough last season to earn a long-term deal, but they felt like he was worth bringing back for another shot.
Another curious move followed that one: they signed Chase Daniel to a three-year, $21 million contract. For a possible starter, it is a fair deal, but for a back-up, it is insanely high. According to the Eagles' new head coach, Doug Pederson, Daniel is going to be the just that.
At this point, most teams would start paying more attention to other positions, but not the Eagles. Before the draft, they traded a bunch of draft picks to the Browns for the No. 2 pick. With it, they would select the quarterback of the future – North Dakota State's Carson Wentz.
Thanks to the rookie wage scale, we can make a reasonable assumption as to how much Wentz's contract will be. He'll earn somewhere in the vicinity of $26.7 million over the next four years.
From a personnel standpoint, the Eagles have been smart. Bradford hasn't won the job and has injury concerns. Daniel has shown promise, but you can only tell so much about a guy during the preseason and in Week 17 games when most starters are not playing.
Wentz had an incredible career with North Dakota State and looked great in the drills. However, it is not unusual for guys to struggle with the transition from the FBS to the NFL. Coming from the FCS, his transition is going to be even more challenging.
By signing three potential starters (four, if you want to count McLeod Bethel-Thompson), they are bound to find one that will work. From a salary cap standpoint, the Eagles have been foolish. Once they sign Wentz to a max-deal (four-years, $26.7 million), they will have four quarterbacks under contract for $83.9 million.
The number looks a little better when you look at just the salary cap hit for next season. Before the draft, they had $18.1 million in cap space committed to quarterbacks. Once Wentz signs, that total will be around $24 million. That's the sixth-highest in the league.
It is important to note that the five team teams above them (and most of the teams below them) are spending the majority of their quarterback allocation on one guy, rather than spread it across three players.
With limited funds and plenty of holes to fill on the roster, you would think the Eagles would be a little more careful about how they allocate money. If they don't make some tough decisions, it is going to get a lot worse next season. Bradford's cap hit jumps to $22.5 million, and Daniel's becomes $8 million.