Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had effusive praise for Malcolm Jenkins on Tuesday, delivering a 521-word answer that spanned more than three minutes in response to a question about what the Pro Bowl safety meant to him.
Jenkins played six seasons in Philadelphia and won his second Super Bowl here, but returned to New Orleans after a contract extension and raise was ruled out of the question.
He said this Wednesday (via Zach Berman at The Athletic):
“I gave everything I had to the city, to the team. Did everything the coaches asked me to do, did everything to make the players around me better, try to put my best football out there. And it just wasn’t valued that much by those who make the decisions. For me, it was just more of a principle about respect. I really didn’t care what the money was. But I wanted to see what the respect factor was. And it wasn’t valued what I thought. And so decisions are made. And I ended up at a place that values what I bring.”
Hmm, well those are pretty strong words for Howie Roseman.
Jenkins, you’ll recall, said in January what he wouldn’t return to the Eagles on the same deal he played with in 2019. He was a pseudo-holdout in the summer and felt that he outplayed a contract that ranked him 9th among NFL safeties in annual average value at the time. Jenkins, who was 32 years old, was earning less than guys like Landon Collins, Reshad Jones, Adrian Amos, Harrison Smith, and Lamarcus Joyner.
It’s understandable why he’d be annoyed with Roseman, though you have to note that the Eagles desperately needed to get younger find some cap relief. They still need to do that right now. Letting Jenkins walk was one of those moves that tastes bitter when it happens, but the Saints wound up giving $16 million guaranteed to a guy who was already 32 years old, and that would be something we’d criticize right now, in hindsight, considering what the rest of the Eagles’ cap situation currently looks like.
This was a bummer, and Jenkins is justified in feeling the way he does, but the Eagles needed an across-the-board movement to get younger and get cheaper. It’s a shame it ended the way it did, but it is what it is.