On the eve of the season opener, the Eagles are making moves. No, not that one. Antonio Brown has already jumped ship for New England.
The Eagles announced Saturday that they had agreed to terms on a restructured contract for wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. The new deal will guarantee Jeffery’s salary for 2020 — set at $15.75 million, per Over The Cap — and extend him through 2021.
More importantly, it creates more cap flexibility. Could this be the first chess piece to fall in a move for another piece? Maybe the Eagles are spreading their wealth in an effort to gear up for a linebacker or edge rusher next year. Or perhaps they are just looking to free up room to take care of some guys already on the roster (see: Malcolm Jenkins).
Jeffery inked a four-year, $52.25 million contract with $14.5 million guaranteed in 2017 before the Super Bowl win. He is currently the 15th-highest-paid wide receiver in football. In two years with the Eagles, he has racked up 1,632 receiving yards on 122 catches and 15 touchdowns, including a huge one in the win over the Patriots.
Jeffery has reiterated his excitement to be in Philadelphia over the years, including a rah-rah statement ahead of the season opener.
“I’m amped,” Jeffery said Friday. “It’s going to be great to be out there in front of our fans playing ball. I can’t wait. We know it’s going to be tough with Washington, a division team, but we’re going to be ready to start our season.”
Eagles Clearing Room for Malcolm Jenkins?
After some brief speculation that the Eagles were clearing room for Antonio Brown (nope, he’s headed to New England), the talk soon turned to Malcolm Jenkins. He signed a four-year, $35 million extension in 2017. The safety has been vocal about wanting a new contract, in line with the top salaries at his position. Not the highest-paid, just market value.
“When you’re under contract, you can’t be the highest paid out there, nor would I want to be, but you want to be within the ballpark of what your value is,” Jenkins said in June.
Jeffery had counted $14.725 million against the salary cap for 2019, the highest cap figure on the roster. The Eagles had $21.7 million in cap space, according to the popular website Spotrac. The team didn’t disclose the financials of Jeffery’s restructured deal, but it should clear $11.75 million as this year’s salary now counts as a signing bonus.
What would a new deal for Jenkins look like? No one is sure. Right now, Jenkins is the ninth-highest paid player on the team with an average yearly salary of $8.75 million, with $21 million guaranteed. But he’s the 11th-highest-paid safety in the NFL falling behind guys like Adrian Amos and Devin McCourty.
Jenkins has seen little drop-off with his play on the field, even at 32 years of age. It stands to reason he would want to be in the middle of that group, or in the $10 million a year range. That seems doable with the Eagles moving money around. Jeffery’s contract likely won’t be the last chip to fall. Look for the front office to get creative with Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson.
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