PHILADELPHIA ( - Shortly after reports emerged that the Eagles would be losing Trey Burton in free agency the team released veteran tight end Brent Celek.

Celek, 33, insisted he wanted to keep playing earlier this month but Philadelphia has some significant salary-cap restraints and needed to create about $11 million in space before the new league year starts on Wednesday.

Howie Roseman got that done by reworking Lane Johnson's deal and jettisoning Celek, the longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia.

Celek was due to count $5 million against the cap in 2018 and the Eagles save $4M of that by releasing the popular veteran. They also generated $7.5M by tweaking Johnson's deal.

Celek remained the Eagles best blocking tight end by a wide margin last season but has become a descending, sub-package player behind receiving threat Zach Ertz.

An 11-year veteran, Celek was originally drafted by the Eagles in 2007 out of the Cincinnati and ends his tenure with the fourth-most receptions in franchise history (398). He also proved to be an ironman, missing just one regular-season game over his decade-plus in the city.

“Brent Celek defines what it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle," the organization said in a statement. "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.”

With both Celek and Burton, the triggerman of the "Philly Special," gone, the Eagles are now all of a sudden very thin behind Ertz with just Billy Brown, Adam Zaruba and Joshua Perkins under contract.

The team is high on Brown, a former college wide receiver at Shepherd, as a receiving tight end.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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