As it turns out, Jason Kelce will NOT be retiring this offseason.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ starting center announced he’s returning for 2021 via his official Instagram account.
Man, the first week of March 2021 is one for the record books!!!! Got to welcome baby #2 Elliotte Ray Kelce into the world, got my first dose of the Moderna Vaccine at the wonderful Puentes de Salud medical clinic, and restructured my contract to ensure I will continue to be the Center for the Philadelphia Eagles. 2021 already off to a better start!! The more people that get their #FauciOuchie, the sooner we get back to normal. Don’t let the name fool ya, #Elliotte is a girl. #GoEagles couldn’t be more excited!!
While we don’t yet know the specifics of Kelce’s restructure, Over The Cap projects the move to clear up at least $3.3 million in cap space this year. UPDATE: Ian Rapoport reports Kelce and the Eagles agreed to a new deal for this year that pays him $9 million fully guaranteed and up to $12 million.
Kelce’s return comes as a bit of a surprise. Here’s what we previously wrote about his outlook:
OUTLOOK: Selfishly, I hope Kelce plays for the Eagles as long as he can. But in wanting what’s best for him, I hope he retires. Kelce, who turns 34 this season, has previously given weight to walking away. There’s no sense in him sacrificing his body for an Eagles team that’s probably not going to be very good in 2021. If Kelce wants to keep playing, the Eagles should look to trade him to a contender. The Kansas City Chiefs are a logical fit. Kelce would be reunited with Andy Reid and get to play with his brother, Travis. The Chiefs also currently don’t have a center under contract for next season. If Kelce retires, gets cut, or gets traded before June 1, the Eagles actually LOSE about $1.7 million in cap space. But if Kelce departs after June 1, the Eagles clear $5.5 million in cap space this year (with about $7.2 million in dead money for 2022). As much as it’ll be sad to see an Eagles legend leave, Kelce departing is what’s best for both him and the team. Maybe the Birds can get a late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick for him? As for Kelce’s replacement, the Eagles could look to either move Isaac Seumalo (most likely bet) or Nate Herbig from guard to center.
While there’s an argument to be made trading Kelce would've been best for the Eagles in the long-term, there’s obviously short-term value to keeping a franchise legend around. His presence should provide a stabilizing force for Jalen Hurts and/or a rookie quarterback the Eagles might add through the 2021 NFL Draft.