The Philadelphia Eagles made an announcement today that will hang heavy over the City for many moons to come. Veteran tight end Brent Celek has been released.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) March 13, 2018
“Brent Celek defines what it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle.” The Eagles announced via press release. “His dedication to his profession and this organization is unmatched and he will go down as one of the best tight ends in franchise history. Brent embodied the City of Philadelphia’s temperament and character with his toughness and grit. He has been a huge part of everything we have been building over the last decade and it is only fitting that he was able to help us win our first Super Bowl last season. Unfortunately, in this business we are forced to make difficult decisions, especially this time of the year. This one is as tough as they come, but in our eyes, Brent will always be an Eagle.”
Celek leaves Philadelphia with the fourth-most receptions in Eagles history A durable player who missed just one regular-season game in his 11-year career, Celek ranks fourth in team history with 175 games played, behind only David Akers, Harold Carmichael and Brian Dawkins.
In 2009, Celek recorded career highs in receptions (76), receiving yards (971) and receiving touchdowns (eight). His 971 receiving yards that season are the second-most by a tight end in Eagles history, trailing only Pete Retzlaff’s 1,190 receiving yards in 1965.
Here is what this means for the team.
The reason why:
Unfortunately, the NFL is a business. Brent Celek’s role has gradually declined ever since the arrival of Doug Pederson and he was set to make $5M in 2018. The Eagles were pressed for cap space heading into free agency and this move was seen as a necessary one by many, but also an upsetting one. The Eagles now sit under the salary cap limit heading into the beginning of the new league year and when the trades finalize tomorrow, they will have some leverage to work with.
For the second year in a row, Celek posted career lows in receptions and yards. However, he did play in 40.8% of offensive snaps this season, registering a touchdown and proving he can still be an absolute freight train to bring down with the ball in his hands. This isn’t an opportunity that the Cincinnati product is going to let pass him by, not without a fight.
A fairytale ending:
Celek started his career as an Eagle back in 2007 when he was drafted in the fifth round. The Cincinnati product would go on to become the longest tenured Eagle, receiving for 4,998 yards and 31 touchdowns during his time in midnight green. His journey with the Eagles ended in the best way possible. Celek had seen it all. The highs, the lows, the Chip Kelly era, the dawn of a new beginning. But he hadn’t won a Super Bowl…that was until earlier this year when the Eagles triumphed in true underdog fashion over the New England Patriots. It was only fitting that Brent Celek, a player who did so much for the community during his time in Philadelphia, would end his career as an Eagle as a Super Bowl champion.
Celek had only been to one championship game in his career and in 2018 he was able to not only win another, but go on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
“You’ve got a guy in Celek who is one of the all time greats in Philly, maybe the best tight end Philly has ever had.” Trey Burton explained to me earlier this year. “The way he’s treated me, I have the upmost respect for that guy and would do anything for him. I’m extremely thankful for him.”
Well, the Eagles definitely need a tight end. Trey Burton is set to sign with the Bears on a 4-year deal worth $32M and Brent Celek has now just been released, leaving elite receiving tight end, Zach Ertz, and UDFA Billy Brown along with several project players including former rugby star Adam Zaruba. The Eagles need to reenforce the position and have the means to do so either through trade, free agency or the draft. But make no mistake, this has rapidly become a major hole that Howie Roseman needs to fill.
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports