Retirement can wait.
Eagles legend Jason Kelce announced on Friday morning that he agreed to restructure his contract and will return for the 2021 season.
Kelce, 33, has been with the Eagles since 2011, when he was drafted in the 6th round, and will enter his 11th NFL season in 2021.
This is a huge boost for the Eagles to bring back one of their best players and one of their most important leaders for the upcoming season. Sure, the Eagles are working to get younger and rebuild the roster but they still need a few veterans. And Kelce is one they’ll obviously be happy to welcome back.
Earlier this offseason, when asked on Chris Long’s the Green Light podcast what he was worried about, Kelce answered: “Retirement.” The decision had clearly been weighing on him.
After the past several seasons, Kelce has been contemplating retirement. After all, he’s played many years in the NFL as an undersized center and often plays through injuries. He’s also the father of two now and has other interests outside of football. But he loves being a part of a team and will suit up for at least one more season.
"I'm really fired up to be able to come back and play for the Eagles again," Kelce said to the Eagles' website. "I've always said I'm playing until I'm not and I still have a very strong desire to play the game of football. I still want to do it. I still want to be around the guys. I want to be around the building, around the coaches. I still enjoy that aspect of it and I'm not ready to stop doing it yet. I'm excited with a lot of the energy going around right now and, also, I didn't want to end my career on a season like we had last year. It wouldn't feel right. I want to leave the Eagles knowing that I left it in good hands."
The Eagles finished with a 4-11-1 record in 2020 before firing head coach Doug Pederson and trading away Carson Wentz. The Eagles are in what they have termed a transition period and Kelce is well over 30.
But having Kelce back in 2021 gives the Eagles the best chance of putting out a very good offensive line. They also hope to have Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson return from injury. And long-time offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was also retained under new head coach Nick Sirianni.
Before the restructure, Kelce was scheduled to have a $5.5 million base salary in 2021 with a cap hit of $8.4 million. This restructure will presumably lower his cap hit by paying him a bonus.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Kelce’s new deal for 2021 will pay him $9 million fully guaranteed at signing and potentially up to $12 million, likely with incentives.
During his career, Kelce has been a four-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro. He has already put together an interesting case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and playing at least one more season gives him a chance to bolster that. Kelce, of course, doesn’t care about that stuff.
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: