Eagles’ $52M Extension with Alshon Jeffery About More Than Numbers
The deal might be bigger than many expected, but it's still worth it.
This is Alshon Jeffery we’re talking about, the guy the Eagles brought in this offseason to give Carson Wentz a legit red zone target, and he has responded.
While Jeffery's numbers don't jump off-the-page, he is tied for the team lead with seven touchdown catches this season, catching a TD in each of his last four games.
The 27-year-old also ranks second on the team in receptions (43) and receiving yards (619) and leads Philadelphia in yards per reception (14.4) (min. 20 receptions).
And if the size of Jeffery’s four-year, $52 million contract extension came as a surprise, well, you haven’t been paying attention to the way the Eagles have been doing business.
When the Eagles identify a guy they want to keep, they don't pinch pennies, not when it comes to keeping their core-players.
Here is a look at some of the deals Howie Roseman has gotten signed since taking over in 2016:
- Timmy Jernigan (four-year, $48 million)
- Zach Ertz (six-year, $43 million)
- Fletcher Cox (seven-year, $110.79 million)
- Lane Johnson (six-year, $66 million)
- Malcolm Jenkins (five-year, $40.5 million)
And when you look at the paychecks receivers are cashing these days, Jeffery's $52 million extension seems exorbitant only if you expected Philadelphia to undervalue his red zone success, because his overall numbers aren't jumping off the page, and how they've been prioritizing the run game.
But don't let the numbers fool you, Jeffery is one of Philadelphia’s best football players. And so the Eagles did exactly what they’ve done with other players who fit that criteria. They didn’t overpay to keep Jeffery, they offered him a contract that was in line with other recent deals for receivers.
The Eagles have a good thing going, they know it and didn't want to lose it. So they decided to keep the core together for Wentz, and brought Jeffery back.
In a season that everything has gone right, the Eagles could have taken a more hardball approach with Jeffery. Hoping that the team's success would force Jeffery to want to remain in Philly on a "team-friendly" deal, causing the relationship to deteriorate. The team could have told him they expected him to play out the final year of his current one-year deal for 2017 and revisit the contract after the season, knowing that if worst came to worst they could always keep him by applying the franchise tag to remain here next season.
But why take that chance, peace and harmony works.
Extending Jeffery’s deal doesn’t mean coach Doug Pederson will tear apart his play-book and focus more on getting Jeffery the ball. It doesn’t mean the Eagles should feel obligated to throw the ball to Jeffery more than they have in 2017.
It means they know they have a team player, who can produce when called upon in an area of the field that is most valuable - and that's hard to find.
It was the start of a blueprint the Eagles have followed ever since Howie Roseman took back control of the Eagles front office, locking up their best players a year before their deals expire with market-rate extensions.
That’s what they did with Ertz, Cox, Jenkins, Jernigan, and Johnson, and now it’s true with Jeffery.
Jeffery’s extension wasn’t about his numbers, or how important he is to the Eagles offense.
It was much more than that.
This was about Jeffery and how he fits both within the offense and the team and the fact that he is one of Philadelphia’s best players regardless of his numbers.
In other words, he’s the kind of player Philadelphia has made a habit of keeping.