With Brent Celek and Winston Justice recently signed to long term deals (6 year, $33 million and 5 year $21.3 milllion respectively) the Eagles need to turn their attention to signing Jason Avant to a long term deal.
Avant was signed as a 4th round pick out of Michigan in 2006 to a 4 year rookie deal. In his Sr. season with Michigan, Avant had 82 catches for 1007 yards and 8 TD's. In minicamp, Avant suffered the misfortune of hyper-extending his knee, an injury that would later require surgery. Despite being out of action until August, Avant showed intelligence, toughness and grit that landed him a spot on an already receiver crowded roster.
Over his first few seasons in the league, Avant put up solid numbers:
2006: 8 games, 7 catches for 68 yards and 1 TD
2007: 15 games, 23 receptions for 267 yards and 2 TD
2008: 15 games, 32 catches for 377 and 2 TD
2009: 11 games (so far), 32 receptions 474 yards and 2 TD
While these numbers appear modest for a 4th year receiver, Avant has proved time and again that he can be relied on to make the tough catch in traffic, take a monster hit and hold onto the ball. In addition, Avant seems to have the field awareness that so many players (no names on this one, you know who you are) seem to lack... he knows where the first down is, he finds holes in the defense and he capitalizes on his opportunities. In addition, Avant is a team leader. Sheldon Brown is an Eagle I've respected a great deal and I believe he summed it up best when he said: "There's not a harder worker, a better teammate more deserving of anything he gets (than Avant). I've never seen a guy that brings so much to a football team. His leadership on that side of the ball that people don't see, words cannot express how important he is to this football team. I'd put him into a category with a guy like Dawkins." Stop and think about that statement.
Eagles front office, please sign this man to a contract extension and lock up our receiving corps for years to come.