Star safety Malcolm Jenkins has already put the Philadelphia Eagles on notice: Either he gets a new contract or he won’t be back in the green and white next season.
The 32-year-old made it known following the Eagles’ 17-9 Wild Card loss as he finished off the third season of his four-year, $35 million deal.
“I won’t be back on the same deal,” Jenkins said. “That won’t happen.”
Under Jenkins’ current deal, he is projected to make a base salary of $7.6 million in 2020. That is the eighth-highest figure amongst all NFL safeties next year.
He’s coming off a sixth-straight season in which he played in all 16 games while appearing in every defensive snap for the fifth year during that span. He posted 80 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, eight passes defended, and four forced fumbles.
His steady presence in the Eagles’ inconsistent secondary has made him one of the top defensive backs in the league, but he’s also become significantly underpaid compared to recent deals around the NFL.
The Washington Redskins signed Landon Collins to a six-year, $84 million deal ($12 million per year average) while the Baltimore Ravens brought on Earl Thomas thanks to a four-year, $55 million pact ($13.75 million per year average).
Jenkins will be looking for something near those figures but at 32 years old, one is left to wonder just how many prime years he has left in the tank.
The Eagles already have an idea of how Jenkins will force their hand. Last year, he skipped voluntary workouts to plant the seeds of frustration before reporting to mandatory camp.
If there is no progress made in contractual negotiations, Jenkins’ holdout could expand into mandatory activities and beyond.
We recently saw this with running back Le’Veon Bell, who sat out the final year of his deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018. In an attempt to preserve his health heading into free agency, he levied it into a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the New York Jets.
It would be an uncharacteristic move from Jenkins, who has been nothing short of an exemplary soldier during his time with the Eagles. But with his prime years dwindling, Jenkins looks as though he’ll do everything he can to get one last big payday.