The center position has been an interesting one for the Eagles over the last five seasons. From Jamaal Jackson to Mike McGlynn to Jason Kelce to Dallas Reynolds and then back to Kelce, the man in the middle of the offensive line has been a rotating role due to injuries. However, Kelce has easily been the most productive and surprisingly irreplaceable to player to man the position in recent seasons.
The former sixth-round pick was a perfect match for Howard Mudd in 2011. He is a pure athlete and can move like very few lineman can. Due to his ability, he started all 16 games of his rookie season and allowed the team to move on from the high-priced Jackson.
Despite suffering MCL and ACL tears that ended his 2012 season in Week 2, Kelce recovered and was a catalyst for the success of Jeff Stoutland's offensive line this year. Kelce has been hands down one of the best finds of Howie Roseman's tenure as general manager and has been a key component in the Eagles oft-used screen game and rushing attack. Also, he may be the most athletic player at his position.
With Kelce entering the last year of his deal at the age of 26, it is imperative that the Eagles lock him up as one of the key cogs of the offense. Left tackle Jason Peters, left guard Evan Mathis and right guard Todd Herremans are in their 30's and will likely only last a few more years (at best) with the team. With Kelce and Johnson locked up to long-term deals, the front office can continue to build around them for the future.
While some players are worth waiting to sign after their rookie contracts are complete, Kelce has been essential to the team's success and deserves a new deal. He is set to make nearly $1.39 million next season with a cap number of $1.41 million, according to EaglesCap.com.
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