Eagles Ensure Chris Long Will be Back
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Chris Long was at least contemplating walking away from football on top of the mountain as a back-to-back Super Bowl champion.
Instead, the 32-year-old veteran will be back in 2018 shooting for the three-peat.
The Eagles assured that be re-working the final year of Long's contract, guaranteeing him $3 million.
According to ESPN's Field Yates, Philadelphia punched-up Long's base salary from a non-guaranteed $1M to $2.5M that is fully guaranteed and eliminated his $750,000 per game roster bonuses as well as another $750K in incentives.
His salary-cap number increases from just under $2.4M to a little over $3M.
Long, who turns 33 next week, deserved the bump after a really good season as a situational player in the team's impressive defensive end rotation, which also included Brandon Graham, the now-departed Vinny Curry and Derek Barnett.
Long played in 48 percent of the team's defensive snaps and registered five sacks and four forced fumbles, tremendous production. And it was his hurry that forced the bad throw from Case Keenum in the NFC Championship Game against Minnesota that resulted in a pick-six by Patrick Robinson that stole the heart from the favored Vikings.
Long's future was at least in some doubt because the former No. 2 overall pick has already made a mint on the football field and proven he's not about the money, donating his entire 2017 base salary to various charitable causes.
Long was also intent on being a contributor and not just sticking around for the paycheck.
"I don't know yet," Long told SBNation's Charlotte Wilder when asked if he would be back in Philadelphia before the new league year began. "I'm working something out right now. At 32, you have limited time left to play the game you love, so the role has to be exactly right for me. I can still play at a high level, and I'm hungry to play, but every player my age has to weigh how they want to go out."
Long, of course, won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots after the 2016 season but left for Philadelphia, which featured a scheme better suited for his skills.
With Curry now in Tampa and Michael Bennett having arrived from Seattle, Jim Schwartz will likely use a similar four-man rotation, although the Eagles do likely want to get the promising Barnett a little more work in his second season. As a rookie, the 2017 first-round pick played in 41 percent of the defensive snaps.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen