Goal of Jenkins’ OTA Absence Should Be Obvious
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - There is always a message when core veterans miss "voluntary" offseason work in the NFL and that holds true with Eagles Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins.
The versatile leader of Jim Schwartz's back seven hasn't been participating in offseason work at the NovaCare Complex, something first reported by Philly.com's Jeff McLane and confirmed by a source with the Eagles.
First off that's not business as usual for Jenkins, who is arguably the locker-room leader in Philadelphia. However, there are more contributing factors than usual with North Jersey native because Jenkins has many off-field interests as the de facto leader of the NFL Players Coalition.
McLane points out that sources close to Jenkins say he has spent the majority of his time in the Philadelphia area, working out at various facilities and fields around the Delaware Valley. That's important because if Jenkins' absence was just a time crunch because of his activism, he would simply get his work done at NovaCare when time permitted.
That means the issue is almost certainly contract related.
Jenkins signed a four-year, $35 million extension with Philadelphia three years ago with $21M of that guaranteed. He is on the books for an $8.1M base salary in 2019 and a cap hit of nearly $11.4M. The guaranteed money on his current deal has dwindled, though, and includes just $1.75M in bonuses for 2020, the final year of the deal.
Meanwhile, the safety position as a whole has spiked over that same timeframe with lesser players like Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu, Lemarcus Joyner and Adrian Amos cashing in due to timing and circumstance.
At 31 with the dearth of guarantees moving forward that screams extension for Jenkins even if it's only for an extra year with the majority of the next two seasons completely guaranteed for the veteran.
None of this should be viewed as a crisis, however, because veterans of Jenkins' ilk hardly need offseason work and the Eagles understand his value to the defense. Although Fletcher Cox is the most talented member of the defense Jenkins is probably the most important and has played every position in the back seven with the exception of Mike LB.
Last season 973espn.com spoke to Jenkins' position coach, Tim Hauck, who explained just how unique Jenkins is.
"Malcolm is a special player," Hauck explained. "He not only understands his position but he understands the whole defense, the entire scheme. That's why he can handle any role. It's not like you have to coach him up to play the slot or LB next to Nigel [Bradham]. He already knows what to do. He makes it his business to know what to do."
Jenkins' absence is simply a player using what leverage he does have to work out the best situation for him in an industry where there is a short shelf life to make a lot of money.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen