6:16pm: The base value of the five new years added to Johnson’s contract is $56.26MM, according to Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), who says that figure could increase to $60.01MM via Pro Bowl escalators. Corry adds that the deal includes a $10MM signing bonus, increasing Johnson’s 2016 cap number by $2MM and giving him just under $21MM fully guaranteed at signing (Twitter links).
While Johnson’s cap number for next season is going up, the Eagles will save some space in 2017. Johnson’s fifth-year option would’ve cost the Eagles anywhere from $11.5MM to $12MM, but the extension takes it down to $10MM, Corry tweets.
10:21am: The Eagles’ streak of contract extensions continues today, with the team announcing in a press release that offensive tackle Lane Johnson has been locked up through the 2021 season. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer first reported (via Twitter) that the team was putting the “finishing touches” on a new deal for Johnson, while Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link) reported that the two sides had agreed to terms on a five-year extension.
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Johnson’s new deal will be worth up to $63MM, with $35.5MM in guarantees, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The former first-round pick is the third Philadelphia player to sign a contract extension this week. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek extended their deals with the team on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
It’s unlikely that that $35.5MM is all fully guaranteed, and the base value of the new deal may be lower than $63MM, but it still looks like Johnson will become one of the highest-paid tackles in the NFL. Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests (via Twitter) that Johnson is technically getting a new contract, rather than an extension, so the $63MM figure may apply to the next six years instead of the five years beginning in 2017.
If that’s the case, it would work out to an average of $10.5MM annually, which would tie him for fifth among offensive tackle in terms of per-year salary, according to Over the Cap’s data. If Johnson can earn up to $63MM in new money, in addition to what he would have made for 2016, it could make him the league’s second-highest paid offensive lineman by annual salary, behind Trent Williams.
Johnson, the fourth overall pick in 2013, has been a starter for the Eagles since the team drafted him out of Oklahoma, playing primarily at right tackle before spending some time at left tackle in 2015. In his three years with the Eagles, he has only missed four games, when he was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs during the 2014 campaign. This past season, Pro Football Focus ranked Johnson 24th among offensive tackles, out of 81 qualified players at the position.
New head coach Doug Pederson has suggested that he thinks left tackle Jason Peters has a few more good years left in him, so the Eagles may not move on from Peters this offseason — but the veteran tackle is now 34 years old, and his cap number is on the rise, so at some point sooner or later Philadelphia will likely turn to Johnson to replace Peters permanently on the left side.
[RELATED: Eagles extend Brent Celek through 2018]
Assuming the plan is to eventually have him Johnson replace Peters, it makes some sense for the team to lock up the 25-year-old sooner rather than later. Left tackles are the highest-paid players among offensive linemen, but given Johnson’s relative lack of NFL experience playing on the left side, the Eagles may have had to pay even more in a year or two if he plays more left tackle and looks good there.
Now that they’ve finalized a new deal with Johnson, the Eagles will avoid having to make a decision on his fifth-year option for 2017. The team has now taken care of several of its top extension candidates early in the offseason — a report last Friday indicated that Philadelphia was exploring deals for Johnson, Ertz, and Vinny Curry, so locking up Curry before he reaches the open market may be the next item on Howie Roseman‘s to-do list.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.