Brent Celek

Former Eagles TE Brent Celek Retires

Brent Celek is calling it a career. The veteran tight end has informed the Eagles that he’ll be retiring, reports NFL.com’s Michael Silver. Celek will release a statement on the team’s website tomorrow.

We heard earlier this month that the 33-year-old was considering retirement, with Celek suggesting that he’d either stay with the Eagles or hang up his cleats.

I think I’m leaning more toward retirement,” Celek said. “I’ve had a few offers, but none of them are worth leaving a city that I have been in for eleven years where I won the Super Bowl in my final year. It wouldn’t feel right to put another uniform on.

Celek finished the 2017 season with a career-low 130 receiving yards, but he still managed to appear in all 16 games for the Eagles. In fact, the durable tight end only missed a single regular season game throughout his career. With former backup Trey Burton out of the picture, the Eagles presumably would have welcomed Celek back for a 12th season with the organization. Instead, they’ll roll forward with Zach Ertz, rookie Dallas Goedert, and Richard Rodgers as their tight ends.

There’s no denying Celek’s impact on the Eagles offense throughout his 11-year career. His best season came back in 2009, when he finished with 76 receptions for 971 yards and eight touchdowns. The 2007 fifth-round pick will finish his career with the fourth-most receptions in franchise history (398), and he’s also towards the top of the list in receiving yards (4,998, eighth) and receiving touchdowns (31, 11th).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Brent Celek Leaning Towards Retirement

Eagles free agent tight end Brent Celek tells 97.5 The Fanatic that he’s leaning towards retirement (audio link). Celek didn’t quite say that it’s Eagles-or-bust if he were to play, but it was heavily suggested. 

I think I’m leaning more toward retirement,” Celek said. “I’ve had a few offers, but none of them are worth leaving a city that I have been in for eleven years where I won the Super Bowl in my final year. It wouldn’t feel right to put another uniform on.

Celek was overshadowed a bit in Philadelphia last year with Zach Ertz and Trey Burton ahead of him on the depth chart, but he appeared in all 16 games for the Eagles. He has been remarkably durable over the course of his career, missing just one game since entering the league in 2007.

Once upon a time, Celek was a major part of the Eagles’ passing attack. He nearly hit 1,000 receiving yards in 2009 and he averaged 59 catches for 744 yards and 4+ TDs between 2009 and 2012. In recent years, he’s been used more for blocking purposes. He has just 27 grabs for 285 yards over the last two seasons. In theory, the Eagles could circle back to him now that Burton is out of the picture, but they could just as easily forge ahead with their current group, which includes second-round pick Dallas Goedert and free agent pickup Richard Rodgers.

If Celek does return, it sounds like it will be with the Eagles. But, no matter what, he says there’s one team he’d never play for.

Hell no,” Celek said when asked about the possibility of heading to Dallas. “Do you think I would play for the Cowboys? Philly is my home. If they offered me 10MM, I still wouldn’t go.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Rumors: Bennett, Sproles, Celek

Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett appeared before a Texas judge on Monday afternoon following a felony charge of injury to the elderly related to an alleged incident at NRG Stadium following the Super Bowl, as ESPN.com’s Tim McManus tweets. Bond had been set at $10K and he will be permitted to travel between his home in Hawaii and the Houston area for court appearances. For more on the incident, click here.

Here’s the latest on the defending champs:

  • Running back Darren Sproles, who is a free agent, could still be a part of the Eagles’ plans in 2018. “He’s expressed he wants to be back here. He knows we want him back here. Yeah, heck yeah,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said when asked about Sproles at the owners’ meetings (via Jeff McLane of the Inquirer). “He’s a big part of our team. Punt returner. He was a tremendous back, third-down guy. Yeah, so we’ll see where that falls out.”
  • The Eagles like this year’s tight end draft class and are likely to add one in April, but Pederson didn’t rule out a Brent Celek return. “I think that’s a player you’d consider bringing back, especially if you weren’t able to fit all the pieces together at the spot. So he’s definitely in that conversation,” (Twitter link via Zach Berman of the Inquirer). Celek was released earlier this month in order to save $4MM against the cap, but it sounds like the Eagles would be open to a reunion at a lesser rate.

Lions To Meet With TE Brent Celek

Tight end Brent Celek is meeting with the Lions on Thursday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter). Celek is a free agent following his release from the Eagles. 

Celek could fill a need for the Lions following the release of Eric Ebron and the departure of Darren Fells in free agency. Ebron was mainly utilized as a receiver for Detroit and Fells was a blocking specialist. Celek, 33, does a bit of both.

Celek was overshadowed a bit in Philadelphia last year with Zach Ertz and Trey Burton ahead of him on the depth chart, but he appeared in all 16 games for the Eagles. He has been remarkably durable over the course of his career, missing just one game since entering the league in 2007.

Once upon a time, Celek was a major part of the Eagles’ passing attack. He nearly hit 1,000 receiving yards in 2009 and he averaged 59 catches for 744 yards and 4+ TDs between 2009 and 2012. In recent years, he’s been used more for blocking purposes. He has just 27 grabs for 285 yards over the last two seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Release TE Brent Celek

The Eagles announced that they have released tight end Brent Celek. The veteran was scheduled to carry a $5MM cap hit for 2018. By releasing him, the Eagles will save an estimated $4MM. 

This is the latest move by the Eagles to free up cap space, following the restructuring of Lane Johnson‘s contract. With their extra cap room, the Eagles have added accomplished defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the mix. The Eagles are also hoping to hold on to Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, though they might be willing to trade him for a substantial haul in draft compensation.

The defending champs have not rested on their laurels this week. In addition to the aforementioned Ngata signing, they have shipped wide receiver Torrey Smith to the Panthers and they have a deal in place to retain nickel cornerback Patrick Robinson.

Celek, for his part, wants to continue playing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Brent Celek Wants To Keep Playing

The Eagles likely won’t be able to re-sign Trey Burton, but they’ll have the opportunity to retain another tight end. Veteran Brent Celek plans to continue playing, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Eagles Working To Keep DE Vinny Curry]

Celek, 33, is on the books for $5MM in 2018. The Eagles can save $1MM by releasing him, but they may look to restructure his contract instead, as they did in 2017. With Burton out of the picture, Celek could theoretically return as the team’s TE2, behind Zach Ertz.

Celek appeared in every game for the Eagles, both in the regular season and the playoffs. In the regular season, he caught 13 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown while largely eclipsed by Ertz and Burton. Celek has not been a big factor in the passing game in recent seasons, but he remains valuable as a blocker and mentor.

With eleven years in Philadelphia, Celek is the team’s longest-tenured player.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles TE Brent Celek Accepts Paycut

Eagles tight end Brent Celek has agreed to a pay reduction for the 2017 season, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Scheduled to earn $4MM next year, Celek will instead take in only $3MM.Brent Celek

Philadelphia is right up against the salary cap at the moment: at last check, the Eagles had less than a quarter-million dollars in cap room, second-least in the NFL. Celek’s paycut will clear $1MM in cap space, but that won’t allow the Eagles to re-enter the free agent market. Indeed, Philadelphia will probably need to restructure other contracts (or release certain players) in order to sign its draft class and account for unforeseen charges throughout the season.

Celek, 32, was already set to earn $2MM in 2017 guarantees, and this pay reduction won’t affect that total. Having agreed to a contract extension last January, Celek is under contract with the Eagles thorough the 2018 campaign. Playing in a new scheme under head coach Doug Pederson, Celek saw his role drastically reduced last year, as he managed only 14 receptions for 155 and no touchdowns, all of which were career-lows.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Notes: Ertz, Celek, Bradford

It’s been a busy week so far for the Eagles, who signed a pair of tight ends to new contracts and are still looking to hire a key personnel executive for their front office. Let’s check out the latest out of Philadelphia….

  • Using the contracts signed last winter by Julius Thomas and Charles Clay as points of comparison, Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap breaks down Zach Ertz‘s new deal with the Eagles. Fitzgerald also explains why Brent Celek‘s extension has plenty of value for Philadelphia, assuming the team had already decided to carry the veteran tight end on its roster for 2016.
  • The new deals for Ertz and Celek show that – after ceding power to Chip Kelly for a year – Howie Roseman is re-committing to building an atmosphere in which players drafted by the Eagles feel valued by the organization, and stick with the team for the long term, writes Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. “It’s an important message to your team, that if you play really well and you do the right things and you’re drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, you’ve got a chance to stay for a long time,” Roseman said. “I think it’s important for the organization.”
  • Josh Paunil of PhillyMag.com spoke to former agent Joel Corry about the likely value of potential extensions for players like Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, and Vinny Curry. Corry also explained why he thinks Sam Bradford may ultimately sign a one-year contract this offseason rather than a long-term deal.
  • If the Eagles know whether they plan re-sign Bradford or let him walk, they’re not tipping their hand yet, as Bowen details in a Daily News piece.
  • Bowen and Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter links) are both hearing rumblings that the personnel executive ultimately hired by the Eagles to work with Roseman will be a retread, rather than an up-and-comer.
  • The Eagles have hired Missouri’s Chris Wilson as their defensive line coach, Doug Pederson said today, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Brent Celek, Eagles Agree To Extension

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.Brent Celek

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.

NFC Links: Eagles, Lynch, Suh, Panthers

Former offensive tackle Tra Thomas was a member of the Eagles coaching staff this past season, but the 40-year-old wasn’t retained for 2015. Thomas spent time as a full-time assistant on both offense and defense, and he felt like he was actually making an impact on the players.

As a result, it was a surprise when he learned he wouldn’t be back with the organization next season.

“I was a little bit surprised just because when I switched over to the outside linebackers, they improved last year,” Thomas said on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly (via Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com). “The last season, they put up 16 sacks, and then you switch me over to the other side, I start working with ’em, and then this past season we put up 26.5 sacks. Connor Barwin went from five sacks to 14.5 sacks. So I was a little bit surprised just because you can look at the numbers and see that there was improvement in that group. But it’s just the way it goes.

“I went in and asked Coach [Kelly] what my situation was gonna be, and what I was told was that position I had was just kind of something they made up for me to get me some experience on this side of the game, and that it’s not gonna exist next year.”

More from the Eagles amid notes from the NFC…