Malcolm Jenkins has been the man in the room for six years in Philadelphia. He is the team’s unquestioned leader and unabashed spokesperson.
However, Jenkins’ future with the Eagles is very much in limbo following Sunday’s dramatic playoff loss. The veteran safety skipped voluntary workouts in May and briefly threatened to hold out for training camp, only to play the role of good soldier upon talking to owner Jeffery Lurie and getting a verbal guarantee that a new contract was coming.
Jenkins played a full season — all 17 games, every single snap (1,130 total snaps, including special teams) — in good faith. He’s still waiting to drop pen to paper on a new contract.
Ever the company man, Jenkins expressed doubt about his status for next year. The 32-year-old made it clear that he won’t be back on the same deal. He considers himself a top-tier player at his position and wants to be paid as such, according to the Associated Press’ Rob Maadi.
“I won’t be back on the same deal. That won’t happen,” Jenkins told Maaddi. “The market is good for safeties now. I consider myself in the top tier.”
Where Does Jenkins Rank Among the NFL’s Highest-Paid Safeties?
Malcolm Jenkins has been pretty open and honest about his desire for a new deal. Looking around the league at some of his peers, Jenkins feels a bit disrespected.
The Eagles leader hasn’t missed a single snap in two seasons, even going out and contributing on special teams. He’s been on the field for 6,818 of 6,909 possible defensive snaps since arriving in Philadelphia in 2014, per NBC Sports Philadelphia. That’s incredible production for the 11-year iron man.
Jenkins ranks 11th in the NFL among the highest-paid safeties in the league, right behind the Packers’ Adrian Amos and ahead of teammate Rodney McLeod. He still has one year left on the five-year, $35 million contract he signed in 2016 that pays him an average annual salary of $8.75 million.
Per Spotrac, the league’s top safety — in terms of finances — is the Redskins’ Landon Collins who inked an $84 million deal last year. Collins makes roughly $14 million per season. Of course, he’s also seven years younger than Jenkins.
“One of the reasons that I feel comfortable being here,” Jenkins told the Philadelphia Inquirer in June, “is because of my relationship with [Eagles owner] Jeff Lurie and understanding that I do feel valued and respected.”
Jenkins’ Role as Mentor to Younger Players Would Be Missed
The one intangible the Eagles would miss the most by moving on from Malcolm Jenkins would be his leadership. It cannot be understated.
The veteran has always been a calming influence in the locker room, a guy the younger players look up to and admire. No one — well, everyone not named Orlando Scandrick — ever has a bad word to say about Jenkins. He recently shared a simple message about what he tells his inexperienced teammates about preparing for their first playoff action. Seize the moment.
“The biggest thing is you want to convince young players that it’s no different [than the regular season] because it isn’t,” Jenkins said, via NBC Sports’ Reuben Frank. “The only thing that’s different is the fanfare and the looming doom of your season, but the game is all the same really just trying to convince them that it’s no different than the last month that we’ve been in and get them to focus more on the task at hand and the context of the situation.”
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