Examining the Celek Extension
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — A day after signing starting tight end Zach Ertz to a big-money extension, the Eagles worked out a deal for veteran backup Brent Celek, ripping the final year of his deal up in favor a new three-year contract worth $13 million, with $6 million of that guaranteed.
The 31-year-old Celek was set to make $5 million in 2016 before the new deal, none of that guaranteed. He's now under contract through '18 and although the structure of the new deal has not been released yet, the belief is that Celek's cap number for next season was lowered in return for the guarantee.
Originally a fifth-round selection by the Eagles in the 2007 NFL Draft, Celek has appeared in 149 career games with 120 starts for Philadelphia, including the playoffs. He's missed just one game during his professional career and has compiled 371 catches for 4,713 yards and 30 touchdowns, ranking second all-time for Eagles tight ends in all three categories behind only Hall of Famer Pete Retzlaff.
Last season was Celek's first in which he fell behind Ertz on the depth chart but Philadelphia predominantly used 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) as the season wore on and the veteran was still in on over half of the team's offensive snaps (52 percent), compiling 27 receptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns.
The tight end position as a whole was one of the Eagles' strengths in '15. Of the 69 players rated at the position by Pro Football Focus, Ertz was ranked No. 4 and Celek came in at No. 19
Considered a team leader Celek has also been a fixture in the community, founding the Take Flight Foundation which provides seriously ill and physically challenged children throughout the area with daily support and life-changing experiences.
In addition to his charitable endeavors, the University of Cincinnati product was named to Philadelphia Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for his success in his multiple business ventures, including his restaurant Prime Stache in Old City.
"He's just a solid, selfless player," a long-time NFL scout told 973espn.com when asked about Celek. "It's the old adage. You probably can't win with 53 like him but you need at least one."
As for how Celek will be used by new coach Doug Pederson, a quick look toward Kansas City shows that Travis Kelce, the brother of Eagles center Jason Kelce, played 1,083 snaps at the position in '15, while backup Demetrius Harris saw action in 399 plays.
That means 12 personnel should be in play again, especially with Philadelphia's lack of difference-making talent on the outside.
Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman spoke about both the Ertz and Celek extensions at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Tuesday.
"Two different situations. When you talk about Zach, young player that we drafted, on the come, has tremendous talent, has tremendous work ethic, the type of player that we want to keep in Philly for a long time," he told PhillyMag.com. "And then on the other end, Brent Celek. What he means to our football team, what he means to our organization on and off the field. In this league it's so hard to find guys that can block at the point of attack, pass protect, separate, catch the ball. Just a true Eagle."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen