The Philadelphia Eagles are discussing contract extensions with the following three players, according to NFL insider Jason La Canfora: starting tight end Zach Ertz, starting right tackle Lane Johnson, and starting safety Malcolm Jenkins.
This report comes on the heels of the Eagles signing starting right guard Brandon Brooks to a multi-year extension earlier this week.
Ertz, Johnson, and Jenkins all previously signed extensions during the 2016 offseason. Howie Roseman made it a point to keep them around as integral pieces of the Eagles’ core. Roseman’s decisions panned out as those players helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII.
But would the Eagles be making a wise choice to re-sign them again? Let’s take a look on a player-by-player basis.
Ertz ranks among the best NFL players at his position. He set a new single-season record for tight end receptions just last year.
But should the Eagles really be re-signing the 29-year-old?
There’s a case to be made the Eagles should actually be trading Ertz. The team has the more dynamic Dallas Goedert waiting in the wings to potentially overtake his role. One would think Goedert wouldn’t be so happy about an Ertz extension when the younger player already views himself as the fourth best tight end in the NFL.
While fans might be ready for the team to get value for Ertz while they can, I don’t think the Eagles will feel so similarly. Ertz isn’t just chopped liver; this is a guy with clout. He’s the one who caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl LII. He’s on pace to overtake the legendary Harold Carmichael as the franchise’s all-time receptions leader. Ertz also happens to be the favorite target of franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, which seems significant.
The Eagles need to be smart about how they handle this. You don’t simply just jettison Ertz, whose game figures to age well considering he doesn’t rely on pure athleticism to succeed. But you also don’t want to risk Goedert forcing his way out and/or declining to re-sign with Philly.
Ertz is currently signed through 2021.
Should the Eagles give Zach Ertz a contract extension?
This poll is closed
It’s a no-brainer for the Eagles to extend Johnson’s contract. The 29-year-old is arguably the best right tackle in the league and it’s not like Philly has an obvious replacement for him waiting in the wings.
That’s not to suggest there isn’t risk in re-signing Johnson. It must be noted that he’s one failed PEDs test away from being suspended for 32 games.
Still, re-signing Johnson is the easiest call from this group. He’s currently signed through 2021.
Should the Eagles give Lane Johnson a contract extension?
This poll is closed
Jenkins has made his desire for an extension well-known. He point blank said he feels like he’s “outplayed” his current contract back in June.
I previously made the case the Eagles needed to do the right thing and make Jenkins happy. Jenkins is one of the most indispensable players on the team. He hasn’t missed a single defensive snap since the start of 2018 and, really, he’s barely missed any playing time since signing with the Eagles back in 2014.
But Jenkins’ dependability is a double-edged sword. His snap count being very high is concerning as he turns 32 next month in December. Jenkins hasn’t really had a great 2019; he’s been involved in giving up some big plays and he’s yet to log an interception.
Again, the Eagles have to be smart about they handle Jenkins, who is currently signed through 2020. Perhaps adding one more year to his deal is the move.
Should the Eagles give Malcolm Jenkins a contract extension?
This poll is closed
NO JORDAN HOWARD?
Howard’s name was notably absent in La Canfora’s report. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Eagles have no interest in re-signing him. But when one looks at Howard’s volume numbers, he ranks among the league’s top producing running backs. He might price himself out of what the Eagles will realistically be willing to pay to a player at his position.
KEEPING THE NEW CBA IN MIND
One reason the Eagles are motivated to extend players now — as former Eagles president Joe Banner recently noted — is because there’s a new Collecting Bargaining Agreement on the horizon.
We did the exact same thing the last time the CBA was getting ready to expire. Let’s compare it to the stock market. If you say the stock market is at 2000 right now, and you knew for an absolute 100% fact that in a couple of years it was going to be at 3000, you would buy as much stock as you could afford right now.
And that’s the reality in the league right now. Once the new CBA is done, once some of the new revenue streams from scanning and stuff like that comes in, it’s going to be the equivalent of basically a guaranteed higher stock market.
The Eagles have done a good job of getting ahead of the market in the past. There’s money to be saved when you don’t wait until players become free agents to re-sign them.
But the Eagles need to be careful about how they handle these extensions. They’re already the second oldest team in the league. They don’t want to be in a spot where they’re investing major resources into declining, aging players. At the same time, they don’t want to get younger at the expense of losing very valuable contributors.
There’s a balance to be struck and the Eagles have some important decisions to make.