Jason Kelce is staying put. On Friday, the two sides agreed to a revamped contract that effectively comes out to one more year at $14MM, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).
The deal positions Kelce as the league’s highest-paid center, fitting for a player who has been one of the best at his position for many years. In 2021, Kelce graded out as the No. 3 ranked center in the league, per Pro Football Focus, behind only Chiefs rookie Creed Humphrey and Chargers veteran Corey Linsley.
On Thursday, the 34-year-old announced his intentions to continue playing. After that, it was just a matter of getting his contract squared away. Kelce’s old deal had him tied through 2022 at a $10.6MM cap figure, plus several void years. The void years may still be in place, but Kelce now has a pay bump to put him atop the position. Those dummy years are the product of last year’s restructuring, one that spread out his $9MM in guarantees to accommodate the Birds.
Kelce flirted with retirement — both last year and this year — but ultimately decided to kick the can down the road. Now, he’ll work to build on his latest work, a season that ended with his fourth career First-Team All-Pro selection. Or, as he put it this week, Kelce is “looking forward to another year” so he can “dominate” with the rest of the locker room.
While the Eagles have naturally seen many Super Bowl LII starters depart, the team still has Kelce and Lane Johnson anchoring their offensive line. Since that 2017 season, Kelce has added a run of honors despite turning 30 that year. Kelce is now a four-time first-team All-Pro, with his latest such honor coming last season. His four All-Pros lead the way among centers in the 21st century, with no other center whose career began after 2000 earning more than two such nods.
The Cincinnati product has added five Pro Bowls and played a central role in the Eagles leading the NFL in rushing last season. They became the first team since the 1985 Bears to rush for at least 175 yards in seven straight games, doing so after committing to the ground game in Week 7.
Kelce’s contract runs through the 2022 season, though several void years are present due to restructuring. He is on Philadelphia’s books at $10.6MM next season. The Eagles have Johnson and left tackle Jordan Mailata under contract through 2025.
Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones participated in an interview with a local Dallas radio station on Friday in which he aired out some of his frustrations with the team’s 2021 season. He vocalized some frustrations about one of the team’s top cap hits, wide receiver Amari Cooper, not playing up to his contract. Charean Williams of NBC Sports wrote a bit about how Jones’s views could affect Cooper’s future with the team.
Here are a few more notes on the NFC East, starting with another item out of the Lone Star state:
Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel Will McClay reached an agreement with the team, signing a three-year contract extension to remain with the Cowboys earlier this month. Those who follow the franchise know McClay plays a large part in the Dallas front office. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was the first to report it on Twitter, ending speculation that the longtime-Cowboy staffer may pursue one of the open general manager positions.
After the Eagles’ Week 18 loss in a meaningless game against the Cowboys, quarterback Gardner Minshew, who started the game as Philadelphia wanted to rest an ailing Hurts, gave an interview in which he detailed a meeting from earlier in the season that he had with head coach Nick Siranni. After leading the Eagles to a win over the Jets in Week 13, Minshew questioned Sirianni on what it would take to beat out Hurts for the starting job permanently. Mike Kaye, of NJ.com, reveals how Minshew gained some insight on his position with the team, as well as some perspective from being on the team to begin with.
Following the Eagles’ playoff loss in Tampa Bay, 11-year veteran and four-time first-team All-Pro Jason Kelce suggested that this past NFL season may be his last. As a guest on a Philadelphia sports-radio show Thursday, Sirianni gave a peek inside his own negotiations to keep Kelce active. “I sent him two kegs of beer yesterday,” Sirianni revealed. “As long as he wants to go, we want him to go. And I’ll be trying to convince him every single day that I can to come back and play.” In an NBC Sports article, Dan Roche detailed the rest of a very complimentary conversation with the Eagles’ head coach.
In fact, Geoff Mosher of InsideTheBirds.com says that Johnson has already agreed to a restructure, though if that’s true, we don’t yet have any details. Mosher confirms that the Eagles will address Graham’s contract situation, and speculatively, that could mean an extension as opposed to a restructure.
As Mosher observes, these contractual machinations are nothing new for the Eagles, but the difference this year is that executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has been forced to rework the deals of players who are on the wrong side of 30 as opposed to younger talent. So if those players should experience a sudden decline or suffer a major injury, it will be more difficult for Philadelphia to get out from under their contracts (see, e.g., Alshon Jeffery). But most expect the salary cap to spike in 2022, and Roseman, like many execs around the league, is banking on that becoming a reality as they navigate this year’s cap crunch.
Johnson, who will turn 31 in May, just agreed to a restructure at the start of the 2020 campaign, and his cap number for 2021 sits just shy of $18MM. He played in just seven games last year due to a painful ankle injury, but he earned Pro Bowl bids in each of the prior three seasons. Graham, meanwhile, has played in at least 15 games in each of the past nine seasons, and he is coming off his first career Pro Bowl nomination. The soon-to-be 33-year-old edge defender also has a 2021 cap number just under $18MM.
Kelce’s new deal does indeed include dummy years, according to Mosher. That allows the Eagles to spread out his $9MM in guarantees, but player and team would need to agree to yet another restructure if Kelce — who has previously flirted with retirement — wants to return to the field in 2022.
In other Eagles news, the club is moving defensive end Genard Avery to linebacker, as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk passes along. Philadelphia acquired Avery in a trade with the Browns in October 2019, but the 2018 fifth-rounder has seen limited defensive reps over the past several seasons. At just 250 pounds, Avery may have been miscast as a DE, and he will have a chance to remake himself as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.
He compiled 40 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a first-year pro in Cleveland in 2018 but totaled just 18 tackles and two sacks over the following two years.
Jason Kelce isn’t going anywhere. On Friday, the center agreed to a new deal that will keep him with the Birds for 2021 (via Kelce, on Instagram).
The new deal will give Kelce up to $12MM in 2021, with $9MM guaranteed. It’s not immediately clear whether additional years have been added to the pact. Technically speaking, Kelce was already under contract through the 2024 season, though the 22-24 seasons are voidable. This isn’t the first time that Kelce has met the Eagles in the middle. The aforementioned void years were added in 2019, to reduce his cap charge by about $4MM.
Kelce, 34 in November, went from a sixth-round pick to an offensive line staple. Over the years, he’s made 142 starts for the Eagles while earning three first-team All-Pro nods. In 2019, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 center for his work across 1,227 snaps. Last year, Kelce flirted with retirement, but ultimately decided to come back for another year. That means giving up his brief stint in the world of professional arm wrestling, though he left the sport with a perfect 2-0 record.
In an Instagram post, Jason Kelce announced that he will return for another NFL season. Meanwhile, to keep the focus on the field, the Eagles center says that he’s retiring from the world of arm wrestling, where he’s amassed a 2-0 record. As Kelce says, he’s going out on top.
“I wanted to allow my body and mind to fully recover from the rigors of an NFL season and take time with my family to see what lies ahead,” Kelce wrote. “I am fully excited for the 2020 season and will be out there with my teammates, coaches, and hopefully fans this coming season…Can’t wait to be out there this season, can’t wait to have sports back, and I can’t wait till this lockdown is over.”
After the Eagles were knocked out by the Seahawks, Kelce was reportedly the last player to take off his uniform. To some, that signaled retirement. However, the 32-year-old (33 in November) will return for another season in Philly, where he’s under contract through the 2021 season, plus a few void years for salary cap purposes.
With that, Kelce will be on the books for a $7.4MM figure in 2020. He’s well worth the price – last year, Kelce graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 center for his work across 1,227 snaps.
Eagles left tackle Jason Peters told reporters after Philadelphia’s loss to the Seahawks that he will not retire and plans to return in 2020 for his 17th NFL season, according to Eagles Insiders Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher. Peters started 13 games this season and remained one of the best offensive tackles in football, but considering he will turn 38 in a few weeks, retirement would not have been a surprise.
The Eagles would surely welcome Peters back, but set for free agency he will be free to sign with any team. It’s hard to foresee him leaving Philadelphia, but another team with cap space could make a run at the veteran tackle.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, pointed out that another veteran along the Eagles offensive line, Jason Kelce, was unwilling to make the same statement. Garafolo added that Kelce “was the last player out of uniform” and “Didn’t look like he wanted to take it off.” Kelce will talk to reporters tomorrow and Garafolo’s report seems to suggest he is leaning towards retirement. If he does, the Eagles will already need to replace one starter and may be even more inclined to keep Peters in the fold.
November 20th, 2019 at 12:58pm CST by Marc Delucchi
Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph told reporters he did not say anything that “escalated” the altercation between him and Myles Garrett, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. Garrett, of course, swung a helmet at Rudolph’s bare head and received an indefinite suspension from the league, which he is currently appealing. While Garrett was not the only player suspended, many have criticized the league for handing no suspension to Rudolph for instigating the situation.
At the moment, Rudolph has yet to hear from the league regarding any punishment, per Kaboly. Although everyone believes a fine will be coming his way.
Here’s some more news surrounding quarterbacks around the league:
While Dolphins head coach Brian Flores revealed Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the team’s starter this week at quarterback, he left the door open for Josh Rosen to retake the mantle at some point in the near future. Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald speculates that a three-game stretch beginning on December 8th could have massive implications for Miami’s draft position. Giving the reigns back to Rosen could both help the team evaluate his long-term future and improve their draft standing, per Beasley.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has struggled recently. Even with his poor play of late, Philadelphia’s starting center Jason Kelce said he has “all the faith in the world [in Wentz]” during an interview on 94 WIP. At 5-5, the Eagles have failed to live up to lofty expectations and in last week’s 17-10 loss to the Patriots, Wentz completed just 20 of 40 pass attempts. However, with former backup Nick Foles now in Jacksonville, current backup Josh McCown is not going to push Wentz for playing time anytime soon.
Eagles running back Josh Adams is expected to miss the start of the team’s offseason conditioning program as he recovers from shoulder surgery, Mike Kaye of NJ.com hears. The good news is that Adams’ six-month timetable from January labrum surgery should put him in line to participate in July’s training camp. Adams put himself on the map last year with a team-leading 511 rushing yards plus three touchdowns. His usage dropped after five consecutive starts, but he’ll have an opportunity to build on that progress in 2019.
Sterling Shepard‘s contract extension talks with the Giants appeared to have picked up after the Odell Beckham trade, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets. Shepard’s new deal – a four-year, $41MM pact – was larger than expected, though the going rate for wide receivers shot up dramatically this offseason. Had the Giants not extended Shepard, teams such as the Patriots would have been ready to pounce on him in free agency next year.