I think there were several factors that led to the Eagles’ decision not to give Malcolm Jenkins the new deal he wanted.
Remember, after last season, Howie Roseman said the Eagles had to get younger. They had become the second-oldest team in the NFL, trying to get another Super Bowl ring with that same group.
Roseman talked about looking ahead to the next three years and not just 2020.
Retool or rebuild, however you want to describe it, they were looking to sign younger players to longer-term deals. They didn’t want go with stopgap veterans for one year.
Jenkins would’ve certainly helped this year’s team. But maybe not as much in the third year of his deal when he would have been 34 or 35. The game is about speed in the secondary. Just look at the Chiefs.
But I think the biggest factor is changing the dynamic — turning this team over to their franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.
Jenkins was the leader. He was the voice of the team. He broke down the huddles. He was a very powerful voice in the locker room and a commanding and inspirational leader. He was fantastic. Helped lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl. And he was one of the main reasons why the Eagles made the playoffs the last two years. Remember when the Eagles were down 19-3 to the Giants in 2018? Season on the brink, staring at 4-7 and possibly missing the playoffs. Jenkins urged Jim Schwartz to simplify the defense for the secondary that had been ravaged by injuries (some players off the street). The Eagles came back and won that game, catapulting them into the playoffs.
But you saw what Wentz was able to do this past season when the offense was ravaged by injuries at receiver down the stretch. “Carson and the kids.” He led them to the playoffs. He was free to be the leader with the younger receivers. They say he inspired them.
I believe the decision to let Jenkins walk is about changing the overall dynamic of this team so this is Wentz’s locker room.
I think it is similar to what the Seahawks did when they allowed Russell Wilson to take over the team and let go of powerful voices like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett.
This is undoubtedly Wentz’s team now.
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