So, about the Philadelphia Eagles giving Chris Long a raise ... apparently the veteran defensive end hasn’t actually accepted their offer yet. At least that’s what Mike Silver is reporting.
As @fieldyates reported, the Eagles earlier this month offered to upgrade DE Chris Long's 2018 contract. The guaranteed money is actually in the $4 million range. However, Long has not yet accepted. Still mulling over what a source says is a "football decision" whether to return.— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) March 21, 2018
Earlier this month, Long did say that he has “no idea” if he’s going to return to football in 2018. He also noted that he was “working something out right now,” which could be in reference to this contract offer from the Eagles.
Silver also added this:
In theory, he could decide to retire... or play elsewhere... given his productivity in 2017, perhaps the signing of Michael Bennett has him questioning his role. I'm sure he has a lot on his mind right now. https://t.co/a4t2RT3Lez— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) March 21, 2018
Long does have the option to retire. Playing elsewhere would involve him asking the Eagles to be released or traded, which they aren’t required to grant.
Geoff Mosher is confirming what Silver said about Long questioning his role.
Yes this is true. I’ve heard he’s wondered about his role going forward now that #Eagles have acquired Bennett.— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) March 21, 2018
Have to think Bennett, Barnett, Cox and Graham are gonna be the third-down line and get most third-down snaps. https://t.co/V9EsLvXhoV
This is interesting because Long said the Eagles asked him about the Bennett trade before it was made. Long said he gave a “glowing recommendation” of Bennett. So the deal seemingly wasn’t made without his approval.
And just because the Eagles acquired Bennett doesn’t mean there’s significantly less playing time for Long. The Eagles released Vinny Curry, who played 575 defensive snap last year, and didn’t retain defensive tackle Beau, who played 495. Bennett will even see some of his playing time at DT, which frees up more defensive end snaps.
NFL insider Mike Garafolo offered some more thoughts on this situation.
The deal is in the system so he definitely signed something. But to this point, the new contract and the old one would've paid the same thing: a $500k roster bonus on the third day of the league year.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 21, 2018
I will say this sounds like a unique case in a few ways, though. So I believe this whole situation is on pause right now, as per @MikeSilver’s reporting.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 21, 2018
So I think the takeaway here is that it’s not a sure bet that Long will be back with the Eagles in 2018. Or that he’s retiring. It seems like the decision is still up in the air.
But now we are seeing why the Eagles offered more money in the first place. It wasn’t just to reward Long for his strong season in 2017. It seems like it was also about trying to prevent him from retiring.
Losing Long would be a tough loss for Philly. It’d be great to have him back, but he obviously needs to decide what’s best for him.