Jordan Mailata is fully aware just how remarkable his journey to the NFL has been.
That’s not lost on the 6-foot-8 behemoth, who signed a $64 million contract extension the day before the season opener, which was also just his 11th career start … at any level.
The former Australian rugby player has gone from knowing nothing about American football to being the Eagles’ left tackle of the future in just a few years.
It sounds like a movie.
“I think it is a movie,” Mailata responded after the Eagles’ 32-6 win in Atlanta. “I’m just waiting for somebody to say cut and all the lights come down and I’m like ‘oh wow.’ Until then, I’m just going to keep doing my process. You guys know it from Philly. One percent better every day. And just keep learning from my mistakes.”
As aware as Mailata is about his unique story, he has remained laser focused this summer. That’s why as questions about his contract swirled in the wake of his winning a position battle against Andre Dillard, Mailata tried his hardest to stay locked in last week. He didn’t even want his agents to talk to him about his contract until there was a concrete offer from the Eagles.
That offer came Thursday. The agreement came Friday. He put pen to paper on Saturday.
On Sunday, he started and played all 71 snaps (and played very well) as the Eagles kicked off the Nick Sirianni Era with a huge win in Atlanta.
“Obviously, you know, it’s an incredible feat,” Mailata said. “I’m extremely blessed to have gotten that extension. Like I said before in my Eagles video, I’m incredibly happy to keep representing this city and this team and organization and everything that it stands for. It gives me an opportunity to represent my family, my country and my people.”
It’s life-changing money, and not just for Mailata.
“I’ve been wanting to buy my parents a house,” Mailata said. “And so I can finally do that.”
Mailata, whose teammates have begun calling Big Money after his new extension, came to the Eagles as a seventh-round project back in 2018. He was massive and had the physical tools but calling him “raw” would have been an understatement.
Nick Sirianni remembers that version of Mailata. Back in 2018 in Sirianni’s first year with Frank Reich and the Colts, they had Mailata in Indianapolis for a pre-draft visit.
“We were all kind of salivating over him in the potential that he had,” Sirianni said. “But that's what it was, it was potential, right? It wasn't like you turned on South Carolina, Clemson, and you're, like, ‘Look at this guy block.’ It was all potential.”
The Eagles saw that potential and thought offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was the guy to help turn Mailata into a real football player. And in three years, he did just that.
Now, obviously, Mailata deserves a ton of credit for his transformation. But even Mailata admitted there’s no way he’d be in this position without Jeff Stoutland.
After signing his big contract extension, Mailata briefly thanked Stout but didn’t really get a chance to thank him properly. Neither guy wanted it to happen before a game. So after Sunday’s win, Mailata said he was planning on sitting down with Stoutland on Monday for real.
Mailata played very well in Week 1 and had a devastating block to spring Jalen Reagor for a touchdown. The Eagles hope this is just the beginning for the 24-year-old.
“He had potential coming out and has just done a good job of maximizing it,” Sirianni said. “And he's still a young player. We still think he's got his arrow still pointing up.”
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