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Shoulder injury gives Alshon Jeffery’s contract new perspective

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Alshon Jeffery #17 of the Philadelphia Eagles misses the pass attempt under pressure from Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots during the second quarter in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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With a month left in the regular season, Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery swapped another shot at free agency for a four-year extension. The news that he’ll miss up to six months with a previously-undisclosed shoulder injury suffered at training camp in July provides a fresh perspective for Jeffery’s new deal.

If Jeffery had, as many have argued he should, pushed his way to free agency, he would have had a hard time getting $26 million fully guaranteed in a deal signed in March. Under the terms of the contract he signed in December, that’s precisely what he’ll have -- $26 million, fully guaranteed, as of March 17.

From the injury to a season that consisted of 57 catches for 789 yards (he added 219 yards in the postseason), who would have given Jeffery $26 million fully-guaranteed in a deal that averages $13 million per year?

It’s entirely possible the Eagles wouldn’t have given Jeffery that same deal in December, if they’d known about the injury. And apparently they didn’t; otherwise, Jeffery would have (and should have) appeared on each and every injury report issued by the team in 2017.

That’s another angle that should be considered: How are the Eagles feeling about the news that Jeffery could miss the preseason due to an injury he apparently concealed from the team all year long? Although the rules prevent the team from cutting him before the balance of his $26 million guarantee vests (due to the injury), the Eagles could choose to play hardball based on what could be characterized as an effort by Jeffery to deceive them by hiding the injury from the team when signing the deal.

And that would be a compelling turn of events, if the Eagles were to choose to go that route. For now, there’s no indication that they will.