Eagles sign WR Alshon Jeffery to 4-year extension

Eagles sign WR Alshon Jeffery to 4-year extension

The Eagles have signed wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to a four-year contract extension that runs through 2021, the team announced Saturday morning.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the extension is worth $52 million over four years with $27 million guaranteed.

With an average of $13 million, the deal makes Jeffery the eighth-highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL based on average annual salary.

Jeffery is the second veteran offseason acquisition the Eagles have signed in recent weeks to a one-year deal to a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract extension. They secured Tim Jernigan last month.

“First of all I just want to thank Jeffrey Lurie and the entire Eagles organization,” Jeffery said. “I love it here. 

“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to play for this organization and for these fans. Everyone has welcomed me with open arms and now I’m looking forward to being here for a long time. We have a great group here and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Jeffery hasn’t put up huge numbers in his first 11 games with the Eagles, but his chemistry with Carson Wentz seems to be growing each week.

He has 17 catches for 265 yards and five touchdowns the last four games and is 43 for 619 with seven TDs so far this year.

Although he only ranks 42nd in the NFL in catches and 30th in yards, Jeffery is tied for fifth in touchdown receptions.

The seven TD catches match the second-most of Jeffery’s career. He had 10 in 2014 with the Bears.

Jeffery takes a streak of four straight games with a touchdown catch into Seattle Sunday night and is just two shy of the team record of six, set in 1985 by Mike Quick. 

Jeffery, 27, needs just 203 yards for his best season since 2014, his second consecutive 1,000-yard season with the Bears.

The Eagles revamped their wide receiving corps during the offseason, cutting ties with Jordan Matthews, Paul Turner, Dorial Green-Beckham and Bryce Treggs.

Jeffery was the centerpiece of the rebuild, and both sides took a chance on a one-year, $9.5 million deal. The Eagles, facing some difficult cap decisions in 2018, risked losing Jeffery this offseason, and Jeffery risked hurting his value if he didn’t produce.

According to Spotrac, the only wide receivers with a higher average annual salary than Jeffery are Antonio Brown ($17 million average per year), DeAndre Hopkins ($16.2 million), A.J. Green ($15 million), Julio Jones ($14.25 million) and Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant ($14 million).

The $27 million in guaranteed components is also the eighth-highest figure among receivers.

It’s quite an investment on a receiver who hasn’t made a Pro Bowl since 2013 and hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2014.

But the Eagles believe Jeffery is the perfect receiver for Wentz to grow with. It took a few weeks but their chemistry recently, especially in the red zone, has been one of the biggest reasons Wentz is having an MVP season and the Eagles are an NFL-best 10-1 and take a nine-game winning streak into Seattle Sunday.

One thing the Eagles really liked about Jeffery early on was that even though he wasn't putting up big numbers — four of his first seven games he had fewer than 40 yards — he always showed a team-first mentality and supported his younger teammates.

"That's one of the things that I love about Alshon," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. "Even early on when the ball wasn't going to him as much, totally unselfish, hard worker. 

"You just know these things take time — the chemistry, the opportunities — and so the confidence level grows. He's made some huge plays … and that's why he's here."

Eagles rookie CB Sidney Jones cleared to practice

Eagles rookie CB Sidney Jones cleared to practice

On a day that will be remembered most for a player the Eagles lost to an injury (see story), they did learn that they are getting another player back after a long injury rehab.

The Eagles are finally going to get a look this week at rookie second-round pick Sidney Jones at practice. Whether he actually gets into a football game this year is still in doubt.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that nine months after he blew out his Achilles and eight months after the Eagles drafted him, Jones has finally been medically cleared to practice and will participate to some extent Wednesday when the Eagles get back to work following their win over the Rams Sunday in Los Angeles.

“We're just to the point of just want to see him out there running around, doing football activities outside of the normal workouts that he's been doing,” Pederson said Monday. “Just really changing direction and doing more football work this week.”

Jones tore his left Achilles during his pro day workout on March 11 and has spent the entire season so far on the reserve-non football injury list, which is for players with preexisting conditions dating before the first day of practice.

The Eagles had a window running from Week 7 until this week to activate Jones for practice, and once he practices on Wednesday, they’ll have 21 days to either activate him to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the year.

The Eagles have the luxury of taking their time with Jones, thanks to the play of starting corners Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, slot corner Patrick Robinson and fourth corner Rasul Douglas.

Before his injury, Jones was projected as a first-round draft pick. The Eagles got him with the 43rd pick, but even if he doesn’t play until opening day next year, he will still be only 22 years old and under contract through 2020.

Jones had nine interceptions, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 8½ tackles for loss and 145 tackles in 40 career games for the University of Washington.

It remains to be seen where Jones will fit in next year, but Robinson, although he has played well, is due to become a free agent this offseason and turns 31 in September.

Douglas and Jones are signed through 2020, Mills through 2019 and Darby through 2018.

Doug Pederson adamant Eagles can overcome the ultimate loss

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Doug Pederson adamant Eagles can overcome the ultimate loss

Remember when the Eagles lost Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks and Darren Sproles and plenty of folks thought the season was over? 

Doug Pederson does. 

Sure, this isn't exactly an apples-to-oranges comparison. Losing a left tackle or a middle linebacker or a running back isn't the same thing as losing an MVP-level quarterback entering his prime. It would be unfair to suggest they're the same. 

But Pederson has seen his team hurdle over every obstacle this year. With the biggest one yet now in front of them, it's his job to convince his team they can do it again. 

On Monday, Pederson tried to convince fans who have prematurely canceled Christmas. 

"To the fans out there, you can't lose faith," Pederson said. "This has been a resilient football team all season long. If there's ever an opportunity for me as a head football coach to rally the troops, now might be the time. 

"We just came off a tremendous victory to win the NFC East. Guys are riding extremely high. It's a little bittersweet. But you know what? We've got the Giants this week and we've got an opportunity to ... if you win Sunday, you get a first-round bye. There's still a lot to play for. That's what's exciting about this season. We're still playing for the opportunity to hopefully be in that game."

Pederson, just after delivering news of a torn ACL, was adamant that his team can overcome the loss of Carson Wentz. 

"It sure can," he said. "Heck yeah." 

It won't be easy. Before leaving Sunday's game, Wentz threw his 33rd touchdown pass of the 2017 season, breaking the Eagles' franchise record that had stood since 1961. But more than touchdown passes, Wentz made special plays seemingly every week, plays that only a handful of quarterbacks in the world can make. 

Nick Foles is a pretty adequate backup, and he did a nice job when called upon against the Rams. But he ain't Carson Wentz. Everyone, including his teammates, knows that. 

It's just that they don't have time to wallow in the loss of their superstar leader. Next weekend might be huge. 

A win against the Giants would earn the Eagles a first-round bye. A win against the Giants, paired with a Vikings loss, would earn them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. After another obstacle was dropped in front of them on Monday morning, the Eagles can still help themselves. 

Pederson's role in all this is vital. He has to be the guy to hold it all together.  

"It's huge," he said. "I think even the guys felt it after the game yesterday. We just rally and we support the next guy. From my standpoint, you don't waver, man. You don't let people see you sweat, you just put your head down and you go to work. You get everybody ready to play. It was evident yesterday when Carson was out of the game, you saw Nick come in and come back and lead us to victory in that game. That right there is a great step in the right direction."