1:07pm: According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), Celek’s new deal is three years in total, so he’ll be locked up through the 2018 season.
12:01pm: For the second time in as many days, the Eagles have struck a deal on a contract extension for a tight end. According to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Eagles and Brent Celek have agreed on a three-year, $13MM contract that features $6MM in guaranteed money. The agreement comes on the heels of Monday’s five-year extension for top tight end Zach Ertz.
After averaging nearly 60 receptions per season from 2009 to 2012, Celek, who turned 31 on Monday, has seen his production dip in recent years. During Chip Kelly‘s tenure with the Eagles, and since the arrival or Ertz, Celek never caught more than 32 balls in a season, averaging about 413 yards per year.
Still, with Kelly out of the picture, the new Eagles decision-makers valued Celek enough to keep him around, adding guaranteed money to an expiring deal that no longer featured any. The former fifth-round pick had been set to earn a base salary of $4.925MM in 2016, the final year of his contract. However, Philadelphia could have cut him without carrying any dead money.
Instead, the Eagles will lock up Celek through at least 2018 – it’s not clear yet whether the extension is for three new years, or three total years – and almost certainly will reduce his cap number for 2016. It’s not clear how much of Celek’s $6MM guarantee is fully guaranteed, so the new deal probably doesn’t assure him of a roster spot beyond ’16, but he has some extra security for at least one more year.
According to Caplan (Twitter links), Eagles ownership and Howie Roseman recognized Celek’s value to the team and liked the way he has transitioned from a pass-catching tight end to one who is also a solid blocker. The Eagles would like the veteran tight end to finish his career in Philadelphia, so he may stick around for a few more years yet.
Celek’s new contract looks somewhat similar to the three-year, $12.3MM pact signed by Browns tight end Gary Barnidge in December. Barnidge, who is a year younger than Celek, hauled in 79 passes in 2015, but had only 44 receptions during the first seven years of his NFL career. Both deals currently crack the top 20 annual salaries for tight ends, though that might not last long, with young players like Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed, and Coby Fleener eligible for extensions.
A report last week indicated that the Eagles were also interested in getting contract extensions done for tackle Lane Johnson and defensive end Vinny Curry, so negotiations for those players figure to be ongoing in the coming days and weeks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.