There’s only so much shouting, “PAY THE MAN,” that any city can do before the Eagles ultimately decide not to. And, that’s exactly what happened after A YEAR of Jeff Lurie, Howie Roseman, et al assuring everyone that Malcolm Jenkins was respected and appreciated. He wasn’t. He should be now.
In one of the saddest moves this offseason, Malcolm Jenkins signed with the team that drafted him years ago, the New Orleans Saints. But, just because he started his career in New Orleans, doesn’t mean Philly isn’t his home. He expressed as much on Wednesday when speaking to the media ahead of his return to The Linc — a game he’s been eager for all year.
“I gave everything I had to the city, to the team. Did everything the coaches asked me to do, did everything to make the players around me better, try to put my best football out there. And it just wasn’t valued that much by those who make the decisions. For me, it was just more of a principle about respect. I really didn’t care what the money was. But I wanted to see what the respect factor was. And it wasn’t valued what I thought. And so decisions are made. And I ended up at a place that values what I bring.”
This man was a team captain, a city leader, the only player to have lined up at 7 different positions, didn’t miss a defensive snap in two years, and if that wasn’t enough, he also helped out on special teams. HE EVEN TRAINED HIS OWN REPLACEMENT (Rodney McLeod — and Will Parks) AFTER SIGNING WITH THE SAINTS. I mean, come on. Who does that? Malcolm Jenkins does that. It was both a surprising move, and also something you would 100 percent expect from one of the classiest guys in the game.
He didn’t deserve to be played like he was. When he was holding out for a deal in 2019, he was given assurances that they acknowledged his role and contributions to the team’s legacy. Jenkins reported for camp, continued to give nothing short of his best effort each and every day, and yet at the end of the season, the team didn’t uphold it’s end of the deal.
Now, Jenkins will likely finish out his career in New Orleans after signing a 4-year deal worth $32 million in early-2020. He’s a leader among the NFL’s top defense, and through 12 games, has 62 total tackles, 9 pass breakups, 2.0 sacks, and 2 interceptions.