Jay Ajayi's future, Super Bowl euphoria in this Eagles mailbag

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Jay Ajayi's future, Super Bowl euphoria in this Eagles mailbag

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Eagles won Super Bowl LII in Minnesota, but it’s time to turn the page. 

Their Super Bowl defense begins next Monday. 

The Eagles will begin their offseason workout program for the 2018 season on April 16 and OTAs will begin on May 22, before the mandatory minicamp and eventually training camp will be here before you know it. 

In the meantime, you have questions, I have answers: 

In the short term, this is an easy answer. Ajayi will be the Eagles’ top running back in 2018. He finished up the 2017 season strong and will have an entire offseason in Philly; that’ll help. The 24-year-old is just a year removed from his Pro Bowl season in Miami, so there’s a chance he can be something special again this season. 

The real problem for the running back is his health. He has a long-term knee injury that has been labeled as “chronic.” That’s a scary label for any player’s knees, but especially a running back who was a workhorse in his one stellar season. There are reasons the Dolphins were willing to give up on him. The big one was reportedly his impact in the locker room, but it’s fair to wonder if the Dolphins thought they were never going to bring him back for a high salary because of his knee problem. That’s a question the Eagles will have to answer soon enough, especially if Ajayi has a big 2018. 

It’s going to take a long time. A couple weeks ago, when I flew to Orlando for the owners meetings, I was at the airport and wasn’t sure which carousel the baggage from Philly was going to. I didn’t need to look it up. Instead, I just found the one with about 20 people wearing Eagles Super Bowl gear. Those people are everywhere. I imagine the NFL sold a ton of it. 

Another story: I shared this on Twitter, but I’ll share it here too. I was in Southeast Alaska on vacation last week and stopped into the small town of Coffman Cove, Alaska (population 200). The bartender at the only bar in town, “The Dog House,” happened to be an Eagles fan. When she told me that, we chatted about the Super Bowl win and I showed her my photos from the celebration. Eagles fans are everywhere and they’re going to enjoy this for a long time. 

Bald eagle. I saw over 100 of them in Alaska last week. It never gets old. Locally, Noah the Eagle from the Elmwood Park Zoo comes to training camp every year and Challenger sometimes flies before games. 

Guice is an interesting prospect. He’s fun to watch and is an explosive, tough runner. He would seem to fill the void from losing LeGarrette Blount. I tend to think Guice will be off the board before the Eagles pick at 32, but he would be an option. He doesn’t have a pass-catching background, but neither did Corey Clement and he had 100 receiving yards in the Super Bowl. 

I’m not sure which Hurst you mean. There’s DT Maurice Hurst from Michigan and there’s TE Hayden Hurst from South Carolina. Maurice Hurst is probably gone by 32 and it might be too early for Hayden Hurst. Don’t sleep on either position in the first round though. 

Depends. I give a free pass for anything right now because they won the Super Bowl. And I actually like it as a boo. Like, if the Phillies stink and you want to let them know by chanting the name of the other team in town, cool. But there better not be any during the Sixers’ or Flyers’ playoff runs. That’s their time. 

Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

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Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

The Eagles gave Nick Foles a little raise on Friday, reworking the Super Bowl MVP’s contract, a league source confirmed. 

Basically, the Eagles are rewarding Foles after he helped the franchise win its first-ever Super Bowl a few months ago. 

Foles, 29, is still entering the final year of his contract with the Eagles, but the new deal also includes a mutual option for the 2019 season, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The mutual option will still allow Foles the possibility to test the free agent market next season, but could leave the door open to a possible return beyond this upcoming season. 

Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport from NFL Network first reported the revised contract, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and “several millions in incentives if he’s the starter and hits various benchmarks,” according to Rapoport. 

That part makes a ton of sense. If for some reason Carson Wentz isn’t ready to play in 2018 or if he goes down again, Foles will have a chance to earn what might be closer to starter money. 

Foles was set to earn a base salary of $4 million in 2018, with a salary cap hit of $7.6 million on the contract before Friday’s renegotiation. 

Wentz and Foles grew very close last season — third-string QB Nate Sudfeld too — and have both been very selfless in a situation that would be awkward for many others in the league. But both have been incredibly selfless throughout the entire process. Just this week, Wentz admitted he had to fight jealousy but was truly happy for his teammate and friend, who became the Super Bowl hero (see story)

Earlier on Friday, Foles tweeted out this photo with his wife and daughter from the NovaCare Complex. That’s a $2 million smile. 

Eagles well-represented on list of top NFL sellers

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Eagles well-represented on list of top NFL sellers

It turns out winning the Super Bowl is pretty good for business. 

The NFLPA on Friday released its top 50 player sales list from March 1-Feb. 28 and the Eagles were the most represented team on the list, with five players ranking in the top 50. 

3. Carson Wentz 
17. Zach Ertz
22. Nick Foles
43. Alshon Jeffery
45. Jay Ajayi 

This list is a combined total of all officially licensed merchandise, not just jerseys. It shouldn’t be surprising that Wentz is near the top of this list, behind just Tom Brady (1) and Dak Prescott (2). Even though he was injured late in the year, he was having an MVP season before going down and is obviously the Eagles’ quarterback of the future. 

But Foles making the list at 22? That’s pretty impressive. Remember, for most of the 2017 season, Foles was just a backup on a two-year deal. He had to make a heckuva comeback once he took over for an injured Wentz and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship. Foles returned to the top 50 list after two years off of it. 

Weirdly, Foles sold more drinkware product from Wincraft than any other player — 10 times more than any other player!

And there are likely a lot of Eagles fans walking around the city with players on their legs. Five of the top 10 sellers of Strideline socks were Eagles: Foles, Wentz, Chris Long, Ajayi and Jeffery. 

Only Brady and Odell Beckham Jr. sold more in Fathead decals than Wentz. 

Here’s the top 10: 

1. Brady
2. Prescott
3. Wentz
4. Ezekiel Elliott
5. Antonio Brown
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Beckham Jr. 
8. Russell Wilson
9. Rob Gronkowski
10. Derek Carr