Malcolm Jenkins gave the fans countless memories during his six year run here in Philly. From his 99-yard pick six against Tom Brady in 2015, to the time he tucked Brandin Cooks in for a nap during Super Bowl 52, there are too many highlights from his Eagles career to list here.
One thing that stuck out to me as I read Jenkins’ farewell piece, was the thanks he handed out to his coaches and owner in Philly. He thanked Doug Pederson, Jeffery Lurie, Jim Schwartz as well as his teammates and the Philly faithful. He never mentioned Howie Roseman, though.
Right before he begins to thank everyone in Philly, he reveals some of his feelings on leaving the city and organization. The excerpt reads:
“And two: I sincerely never wanted to leave Philadelphia.
Let’s tackle that second part first. Forget everything else you’ve heard, and just trust me on this: Money has NEVER been my motivator. For me, it’s always been LEGACY that I value most.” He continued by saying, “And it’s no secret that I wanted a new deal — no secret that I felt like I deserved one. Not so I could be the highest-paid player at my position (even though I regard myself as being of that caliber), but so I could cement my legacy in Philadelphia forever. I wanted a deal that showed me that my sacrifices to the game have been recognized. I’m no idiot. I know money is tied to timing, market value, age, the draft, and so on. But legacy? That’s tied to the player, and to the name on the back of his jersey.”
Let’s not beat around the bush here, Howie could have easily matched the deal that Jenkins ended up getting from the Saints. The contract details were four-years for $32 million with $16.25 million guaranteed. That’s an average salary of about $8 million, just about half a million less than he made the past two seasons annually.
Money was never the issue, like Jenkins states, for some reason or another, Roseman simply didn’t think Jenkins was worth bringing back.
For everything Jenkins has given to this city, both on the field and off it, the least he deserves is some loyalty from the organization and a chance to finish out his career here. To some, that may not be smart business. The Eagles have gotten screwed due to that line of thinking in the past (Alshon Jeffery for example), but Jenkins should be the exception.
He’s a leader, he never misses a snap and his production hasn’t declined that drastically. Not to mention, the team doesn’t even have a suitable replacement for him on the roster, they’re just banking on Mills stepping up or a draft pick coming in to fill the hole.
To me, THAT’S not smart business. When you have an asset that you know can perform and has the intangibles to be a positive influence in the locker room as well as the community, why would you ever want to get rid of that?
So you can see if your seventh round draft pick from a few years ago can be a better safety than he was a corner? Or is it because Jenkins is going to be 33-years-old heading into next season?
Now, I’m not saying Jenkins is on the same level as Brian Dawkins, but didn’t we learn our lesson on letting Pro Bowl safeties, who are the unquestioned leaders of the defense, leave in free agency?
We can sit here and try to justify this move all we want. But the bottom line is this: the chances of this coming back to bite the Eagles in the ass is much higher than the chances of this working out in our favor.
I hope it works out for both parties, I really do. But as of right now, this feels like an ill-advised move on Roseman’s part, and one that presents very little hope to the fanbase. There was no logical reasoning behind the move, at least that’s how it appears now.
The offseason is far from over, so this entire rant could seem ridiculous by the start of next season. I just thought bringing back our defensive leader was a foregone conclusion and something this team would prioritize.
We’ll have to sit back and see what Howie has planned for the safety position as we continue to trudge through the offseason. It should be interesting.