What’s standing between Eagles & Malcolm Jenkins contract extension?

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We’re under one week away from Mandatory Minicamp in Philadelphia and the question on everyone’s lips is an important one. ‘When will the Eagles pay Malcolm Jenkins?’ The veteran safety has not shown up to OTA’s and all signs are pointing towards that being the case when Mandatory Minicamp kicks off on June 11th. But as time passes on, the stakes raise for both sides.

Jenkins has every right to take this stance, and he’s doing so with authority. Whether it’s posting videos of him working out away from the facility, or tweeting clips that show just how important he is to the success of the defense, the veteran is making his a firm case, not that he needs to though.

Since joining the Eagles as a free agent in 2014, he’s missed just 1.6% of snaps. one. point. six. per. cent.

One of the most vocal players in the locker room, Jenkins is now a two-time Super Bowl champion and a three-time Pro Bowler. His argument is so absurdly obvious, that you don’t even need to look at his stat line. You hear the name ‘Malcolm Jenkins’ and instantly, you think of the heartbeat of the defense.

There may be no finer example than his work in the secondary this year. Not only did he play every single snap, but when every other starter around him went down with injury, it was Jenkins keeping the secondary afloat, getting guys lined up, motivating them, and driving the unit out of a six-foot grave and into the spotlight of a playoff run.

So, why haven’t the Eagles paid him?

It could all be to do with guaranteed money. As things stand, Jenkins is the 10th highest paid safety in the league. After signing a second contract with the Eagles in 2016 as one of the cornerstones that Howie Roseman wanted to build around, the former Saints safety had his contract tinkered with later as the battle against the cap started to heat up. As a result, he’s entering his last two contracted years with absolutely none of his earnings guaranteed.

What Howie Roseman loves to do, is find ways to loophole when it comes to salary. Whether through adding dummy years, converting certain clauses to bonuses, or just backloading bigger deals, his intuition saw one of the league’s most cap-stricken teams somehow get to a point where there is now $27M in space. But can you really play that game with Jenkins?

You can’t really add snap count incentives because, well, he plays every single snap. You can’t add performance incentives because he is consistently among the statistical leaders on the roster. Playoff incentives? The team is in the heart of a Super Bowl window. Roseman is going to have to cough up guaranteed money, and he knows it.

Jenkins has watched Safeties across the league this offseason sign daunting new deals, stacked with guaranteed money and making his contract almost look like a rip-off. If you’re to look at the top 10 highest paid safeties in the league in terms of guaranteed money, at least 30% of their contract is guaranteed, with Landon Collins leading the way with a sweltering 60%.

I still think that one of the biggest issues here comes in the way fo the looming Carson Wentz extension.

If the Eagles are ever going to cash in on the ‘value’ of Carson Wentz, it’s now. Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson and Jared Goff are all destined to receive a hefty payday soon and even though the Eagles did pick up their quarterback’s fifth-year option, keeping him for two more years at least, it could be digging a deeper hole.

Right now, the Eagles have leverage over Wentz, given the fact he’s suffered back-to-back season ending injuries. With one of the most chaotic offenses in the NFL, Wentz fully healthy and working closely with Mike Groh, something he was unable to do last year, the chances of Wentz posting astronomical numbers are incredibly high. So if the Eagles wait one more year, there’s a good chance that Wentz’s value will sky-rocket, leaving a salary cap stricken Eagles forced to pay up.

– From my article listed above.

A new contract for Carson Wentz, depending on how urgent the Eagles strike, may not leave the Eagles with enough to provide that instant guarantee for Jenkins. But the worst part is, everybody knows just how valuable he is. You know it, I know it, Roseman knows it, and the team know it.

The 31-year old isn’t just the heartbeat of the defense, but he’s so incredibly versatile. Playing inside the box, at nickel, outside, and of course at Safety, he is the homing missile used by Jim Schwartz to wreak havoc wherever needed.

Jenkins would be fined $14,775 if he misses day one of minicamp, before that number almost doubling on day 2, and rising to $44,325 on day 3. Chumps change if that minor hit means a major spike in guaranteed money.

A Malcolm Jenkins extension should be imminent, that much is clear. The Eagles really cannot afford to drag this out. The team are obviously fully behind their leader getting paid, just as they were when Foles received his ‘Super Bowl thank you’, and the pressure is building.

The reason this move is taking so long? Howie Roseman has little leverage in this situation. What does Malcolm Jenkins really have to lose? It’s not like he’s guaranteed anything and he’s one of the league’s top safeties. As for the Eagles? They could lose an elite player, that they will struggle to replace for anywhere within a lightyear of what they’re currently paying Jenkins, have locker room pushback to deal with. Roseman has to be methodical here, but make no mistake, all momentum and leverage, lies with the heart and soul of this team.