Having Malcolm Jenkins Return is Key for the Eagles

Having Malcolm Jenkins Return is Key for the Eagles
At the end of the season interviews with the media, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins told reporters that he would not be returning next season without a new contract.
 
Jenkins is due to make $7.6 million plus a roster bonus of $250,000 in the final year of his current deal in 2020, according to spotrac.com. His salary for 2020 falls short of what the elite safeties in the game are earning.
 
This is a dicey situation for the Eagles. Jenkins, who turned 32 in December, has shown remarkable durability, versatility and excellence.
 
Jenkins came to the Eagles as a free agent from the New Orleans Saints in 2014. He has made three Pro Bowls with the Eagles and was a guiding force in their Super Bowl for the 2017 season.
 
He once again played in 100 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this past season.
 
Since coming to the Eagles, here are the percentage of the defensive snaps he has played, according to pro football-reference.com
 
2014: 100 percent
2015: 100 percent
2016: 100 percent
2017: 92 percent
2018: 100 percent
2019: 100 percent.
 
Not only has he played the majority of time, but has produced in a big way. This season he led the Eagles with 81 tackles, including a team-high 63 solo. He also had 2.5 sacks.
 
And the Eagles are able to use him in so many different ways, often as a spy on the opposing quarterback.
 
Besides being a hard hitter, he is among the most intelligent players in the NFL and he is a true team leader.
 
According to overthecap.com, there are 11 NFL safeties making more average salary-wise than Jenkins. His average per year is $8.75 million for his current contract (four years, $35 million). No. 1 is Chicago’s Eddie Jackson with a $14.6 million average.
 
Normally a team would pass on extending a player of Jenkins’ age at that position, but he has been so productive that at least a two-year extension appears warranted.
 
In addition, fellow safety Rodney McLeod is an unrestricted free agent this season.
 
The Eagles strength of the defense has been Jenkins and McLeod at safety. Losing one of them will be difficult. To see both go, would be truly difficult to overcome.
 
Throughout his 11-year career, Jenkins has been a winner. In addition to being among the defensive leaders during the Eagles 2017 Super Bowl season, he was a key contributor as a rookie in 2009 for a New Orleans Saints team that would go on to win the Super Bowl.
 
He has appeared in 12 playoff games, including six in the last three seasons with the Eagles.
 
The Eagles, like most NFL teams have difficult salary cap decisions to make. Resolving matters with Jenkins appears to be at the top of the list, because it would be difficult to lose the heart and soul of the defense.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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