Let’s deal in hypotheticals because everyone loves hypotheticals, right? Julio Jones has been demanding a new contract from the Falcons despite having two years left on his deal. He feels underpaid, maybe rightfully so.
Jones is arguably the very best at his craft and wide receivers make bank. Big banks hate little banks. The 30-year-old has caught at least 80 balls and racked up 1,400-plus yards in the last five years. Those numbers are on par with the elites at the position, guys like Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins. Odell Beckham, too, although he was hindered by circumstances the past two seasons.
Anyway, how does this affect the Eagles? Well, it doesn’t directly impact them at all. It might be fun to look at a few players in midnight green that have two years left on their deals since that seems to be the new trend in the NFL.
It’s a phenomenon that Terrell Owens kind of invented when he refused to show up for Eagles training camp in 2007 and treated everyone to sit-ups in his driveway. Remember that? Owens was ahead of his time.
Would These Eagles Rip Up Their Contracts?
The question has to be asked. For a team like the Eagles — one that enjoys bonding together in the offseason and going bowling on days off — it really shouldn’t ever be an issue. However, let’s take a look at a few players with two years remaining on their contracts and wonder … what if?
Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver
Jeffery is the undisputed No. 1 receiver on the team (sorry, DeSean Jackson) with his combination of reliable hands, unmatched leaping ability and yardage totals. He has accumulated 1,632 yards on 122 receptions in two seasons in Philly. The Eagles handsomely rewarded Jeffery in 2017 by signing him to a two-year, $52 million deal with $27 million guaranteed. He wouldn’t dare ask for more money with all that money upfront. But, what if he put together back-to-back 1,600-yard seasons? Would he feel compelled to demand more money? Jeffery is an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
DeSean Jackson, Wide Receiver
This one is very, very complicated as the Eagles structured it in a way to encourage the 32-year-old Jackson to finish his career in Philly. He signed a three-year, $27 million deal with $13 million fully guaranteed, plus a $7.17 million signing bonus. It also includes a $2 million option bonus for 2021 that they would need to exercise in 2020. If the team doesn’t want to pay that option, then he becomes a free agent in 2020. It’s a two-year deal disguised as a three-year deal. If Jackson were to lead the NFL in receiving yards this season, he might want to call his buddy Terrell Owens for sit-up lessons.
Zach Ertz, Tight End
Ertz is under team control through 2022 after he inked a five-year contract extension worth $42.5 million in 2016. In 2019, Ertz proved he was the ultimate team player when he restructured it to free up $5.756M of cap space. He’ll probably get another extension relatively soon, especially if he keeps breaking reception records. However, maybe Ertz sees the writing on the wall with Dallas Goedert waiting in the wings. In that scenario, he could demand to be paid more money — or worse, asked to be traded — before he didn’t get a choice in the matter. Ertz is an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
(Editor’s note: The contracts are real, but all these scenarios are completely hypothetical. The Eagles are among the most respected teams in the league when it comes to taking care of their players. The likelihood of any of these happening is slim to none.)
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