NFL contracts aren’t always what they appear to be.
In fact, they rarely are.
The initial contract numbers get the big headlines. As in … “Eagles sign DeMarco Murray to five-year, $40 million deal."
A year later, Murray is gone after earning $9 million and the contract disappears.
There are two fundamental numbers when it comes to NFL contracts: How much they’re worth and how much they truly pay.
So when we set out to list the most lucrative contracts in Eagles history at each position, we figured we’d do it two ways:
1. We’ll list the most lucrative contracts at each position based on the initial total potential value of the deal.
2. We’ll also list the most actual cash Eagles players have earned on a single contract, regardless of its length and what the original value was.
Contract numbers are from NFLPA records, Spotrac and OverTheCap. All contracts are rounded to $10,000.
Make sure you’re sitting down. Some of these deals are hard to believe!
The biggest announced contract: Carson Wentz — Four years, $128 million (2019-2022)
Wentz did make just over $17 million this past year, but the big money (relatively) doesn’t start until this coming season, when he’s scheduled to pocket nearly $40 million. Interesting to note that the previous largest announced Eagles QB contract was Michael Vick’s five-year, $80 million deal from 2011, from which he earned $32.5 million in two years.
The real biggest contract: Donovan McNabb — Seven years, $51.69 million (2002-2008)
The highest-paid quarterback in Eagles history is actually still Donovan McNabb. His 2002 deal was worth $70 million over nine years, and he played seven of those seasons and earned over $50 million before finally getting a restructure after the 2007 season.
The biggest announced contract: DeMarco Murray — Five years, $40 million (2015-2019)
Murray only made it through one year of that blockbuster deal, pocketing $9.02 million before the Eagles shipped him to the Titans.
Ther real biggest contract: LeSean McCoy — Three years, $20.48 million (2012-2014)
McCoy is still the highest-paid running back in Eagles history. He got a five-year, $45 million deal in 2012 and made it through the first three years of the deal for just over $20 million before Chip Kelly got rid of him.
The bigger announced contract: Alshon Jeffery — Four years, $52 million (2017-2020)
The real biggest contract: Alshon Jeffery — Three years, $35.65 million (2017-2019)
Jeffery's 2017 deal is both the biggest contract in Eagles history and the biggest real contract. Jeffery so far has made over $35 million of the $52 million the original deal called for.
But interestingly, Terrell Owens' 2004 deal isn’t far behind. T.O.’s restructure was worth $48.93 million over seven years, although he only made $11.58 million before getting kicked off the team midway through the 2005 season. DeSean Jackson’s 2012 contract was worth an announced $47 million over five years, but he only earned $18 million of that before Kelly dumped him.
The biggest announced contract: Zach Ertz — Five years, $42.5 million (2016-2021)
The real biggest contract: Zach Ertz — Four years, $31.92 million (2016-2019)
You’d think the Eagles and Ertz would like to work out a new deal, but he’s already made more than any tight end in Eagles history.
The previous high was Brent Celek’s six-year, $29.25 million deal from 2009. Celek wound up playing five years of that deal, earning $21.596 million.
The biggest announced contract: Brandon Brooks — Five years, $56.35 million (2016-2020)
Believe it or not, Brooks’ first Eagles contract — the one he signed when he first got here in 2016 — barely beats out Shawn Andrews’ 2004 deal as the most lucrative. Andrews signed a seven-year, $41.79 million contract and played four years of it, earning $20.58 million.
The real biggest contract: Brandon Brooks — Three years, $25.750 million (2016-2018)
Brooks has played three years of that previous contract, earning $25.75 million before signing a new five-year, $56.35 million deal last year. He’s “only” earned $9 million so far on his current contract.
The biggest announced contract: Jason Kelce — Six years, $37.5 million (2014-2019)
The real biggest contract: Jason Kelce — Three years, $24.5 million (2014-2018)
Kelce has still made slightly more on his previous contract — $25.64 million over five years — than he’s made on his current deal ($25.5 million over three years), but that will change on opening day. Whenever that is.
The biggest announced contract: Lane Johnson — Four years, $72 million (2019-2025)
So far, Johnson has played only one year on his current deal, earning $14.10 million last year.
The real biggest contract: Tra Thomas — Six years, $29.6 million (2000-2005)
Thomas still claims the most lucrative contract for an offensive tackle in Eagles history, having played the entire six years of the deal he signed 20 years ago — before the 2000 season. Johnson is just behind him, having earned $29.08 million over the first three years of his previous deal, and Jason Peters isn’t far back with $28.87 million on the first three years of his 2014 contract.
The biggest announced contract: Fletcher Cox — Seven years, $102.6 million (2016-2022)
The real biggest contract: Fletcher Cox — Four years, $63.4 million (2016-2019)
Nobody is close to Cox, who’s already earned nearly $65 million on the first four years of his record-setting deal, which he signed in 2016.
The biggest announced contract Trent Cole — Four years, $48.525 million (2012-2015)
The largest announced contract belongs to Cole but Vinny Curry is just behind with a five-year, $47.25 million deal back in 2016.
The real biggest contract: Brandon Graham — 4 years, $26.78 million (2015-2018)
Cole earned $21 million over two years of that deal he signed in 2012, and Curry earned $18 million over two years. The most money an Eagles defensive end has actually made on one contract is the $26.78 million that Graham made over the four years of his 2015 deal.
The biggest announced contract: Mychal Kendricks — Four years, $29 million (2015-2018)
The real biggest contract: Mychal Kendricks, Three years, $17.033302 million (2015-2017)
As we all know, the Eagles haven’t devoted a lot of resources to linebackers, but Kendricks did earn some decent money from 2015 through 2017, the first three years of that four-year contract.
The biggest announced contract: Nigel Bradham — Five years, $40 million (2018-2022)
Bradham only earned $11.691176 million over two years of that $40 million contract before the Eagles cut ties with him after last season.
The real biggest contract: DeMeco Ryans — Three years, $18.5 million (2012-2014)
The most money an Eagles inside linebacker made on a single contract is from a contract he didn’t even sign with the Eagles. Ryans signed a six-year, $46.8 million contract with the Texans in 2010, then was traded to the Eagles after two years. He then earned $18 ½ million over the next three years.
The biggest announced contract: Byron Maxwell — Six years, $63 million (2015-2020)
Although Nnamdi Asomugha’s five-year, $60 million deal was worth slightly more per year, Maxwell’s six-year, $63 million contract was the most expensive cornerback deal the Eagles ever wrote. Asomugha pocketed $21 million for two years of his deal and Maxwell $13.52 million for just one year’s work. Darius Slay’s restructure is worth $50.05 million over three years in new money, and before he’s played a snap he’s already earned $13 million on that deal.
The real biggest contract: Asante Samuel — Four years, $37.4 million (2008-2011)
Back in 2008, the Eagles signed Samuel to a six-year, $59.475 million contract, and he played the first four years of that deal, totaling over $37 million.
The biggest announced contract: Malcolm Jenkins — Four years, $32.95 million (2016-2019)
The real biggest contract: Malcolm Jenkins — Four years, $32.95 million (2016-2019)
It might be a while until anybody tops Jenkins' last deal.
The biggest announced contract: Jake Elliott — Five years, $19.3081 million (2019-2023)
Elliottt won’t start realizing the big money until this coming season. So despite that $19 million number, he’s not the highest-paid Eagles kicker … yet.
The real biggest contract: David Akers — Five years, $8.79 million (2005-2008)
Yep, Akers is still the highest-paid Eagles kicker ever, even though he hasn’t been here in a decade. He played four of the five years on that deal, earning about $6.55 million.
The biggest announced contract: Donnie Jones — Three years, $5.5 million (2016-2018)
The real biggest contract: Donnie Jones — Two years, $4 million (2016-2017)
Jones still has highest-paid honors, but only until — presumably — the Eagles sign Cameron Johnston to his next contract.
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