Making Sense of Conflicting Chris Long Reports
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - So what exactly is going on with veteran defensive end Chris Long?
According to ESPN's Field Yates, the Eagles have re-worked his contract, bumping 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.
Yet, according to the NFL Network's Mike Silver, Long, who will turn 33 next week, still isn't even sure he wants to continue playing come Septemeber and labels the "restructure" an actual "extension offer" that Long is still mulling over.
So let's dig in.
First off the contract has to be labeled a restructure because Long was actually signed to a five-year deal in the 2017 offseason, albeit a glorified two-year contract in which the final three seasons were always going to be voided.
The structure of the deal was designed for salary-cap purposes and Long had a $500,000 roster bonus due on March 18, meaning the Eagles basically had to declare their intentions for Long in 2018 by that date.
Especially what Silver is saying is that the Eagles have offered a commitment to Long through the next two seasons.
Something happened and it wasn't simply a $500K roster bonus. Furthermore, you can't simply re-work a player's contract in a one-sided fashion so Long would have to sign off on any change.
From there, conventional wisdom would be that the Eagles moved in the direction they did because Long wanted to play in 2018, something he himself told 973espn.com late last season.
Long, however, also put a caveat on that by saying he only wanted to stick around in a scheme that utilizes what he does best while also remaining a meaningful contributor.
We already know Jim Schwartz's defense fits Long's skill set but the arrival of Michael Bennett could mean Long is the odd man out of the team's nickel-rush package where he was so successful last season.
What can be said is that the official NFLPA salary-cap numbers saw the Eagles take a drop from just over $9 million of space to a little over $6 million, which would line up with Yates' numbers.
So Maybe the agreement here was essentially time.
The Eagles declared they wanted Long to return by the date they had to and Long agreed to the terms he will be playing for over the next two seasons "if" he ultimately decides to continue his career, a decision Silver claims could come as early as this week.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen