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Jason Kelce is due for another payday

Jason Kelce is due for another payday

It was only a year ago Jason Kelce was on the trade block. Now the city of Philadelphia is prepared to anoint Kelce Eagles center for life.

And the Eagles may just follow through with that suggestion — or at least a new contract that ensures Kelce will have an opportunity to finish his career in Philly.

Kelce didn’t just endear himself to fans with his impassioned speech at the Eagles’ victory parade. He graded out as the top center in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus, and was named the league’s best offensive lineman, period, by Football Outsiders. Analytics aside, Kelce also took home first-team All-Pro honors despite being snubbed for the Pro Bowl.

That’s OK. Kelce was too busy winning the Super Bowl to show up anyway.

As it turns out, Kelce’s acclaimed season was well-timed for reasons beyond aiding an Eagles championship run. He happens to be well positioned for upcoming contract negotiations.

Take your warm and fuzzies out of the equation for a moment. Kelce has three seasons remaining on his current deal with the Eagles, but 2018 is the final year to include guaranteed money. Usually, a player with any semblance of leverage can get an extension out of a similar situation, or at least restructure to provide financial security.

Kelce is also set to account for $7.2 million on the salary cap, ninth-most among NFL centers currently under contract. The case can be made he’s the very best center and one of the best O-linemen in the entire league, and he deserves a raise.

It stands to reason the Eagles should sign Kelce to a new deal on merit. Doing so could benefit the club for the short-term future as well. The Eagles are over the current projected cap for '18, but an extension or raise for Kelce would almost certainly be structured in such a to lower his number for next season.

Theoretically, Kelce can agree to restructure his deal strictly for the security, without adding years or money. But at age 30, coming off probably the best season of his career and his popularity having reached new heights, this may be his best shot to score one last long-term contract.

Given everything Kelce means to this franchise — now more than ever — and that a deal might be mutually advantageous, the Eagles could be happy to oblige.

INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN BREAKDOWN
*Ages as of Sept. 6, 2018

Brandon Brooks
Age: 29
2018 cap hit: $11.136M

Currently the second-most-expensive guard under contract for 2018 and worth every penny. Brooks graded out third at his position last season, earning his first Pro Bowl invitation in the process. Low key, one of the best free-agent signings by the Eagles in recent years.

Jason Kelce
Age: 30
2018 cap hit: $7.2M

Kelce has been through highs and lows, but in the right situation, he’s a unique weapon. There truly isn’t a more agile center in the league, and Doug Pederson knows how to make the most of his ability. Kelce is smart, he’s tough and he’s right in the midst of his prime.

Stefen Wisniewski
Age: 29
2018 cap hit: $2.958M

What a steal Wisniewski turned out to be. It’s hard to imagine why this guy was sitting around waiting for the phone to ring three weeks into free agency when the Eagles finally called in 2016. Now he’s the starting left guard for the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Chance Warmack
Age: 26
2018 cap hit: $1.984M

Initially, Warmack looked like a disappointment, ultimately losing the starting left guard job to Wisniewski. Warmack performed more capably in relief and spot starts later, offering some hope for his future. The Eagles could reopen the competition in 2018, the final year of his contract.

Isaac Seumalo
Age: 24
2018 cap hit: $854k

Almost an afterthought now, Seumalo began the season at left guard unopposed, then tumbled to the bottom of the depth chart two weeks in. The Eagles aren’t giving up on the 2016 third-round pick, but he has two years remaining on his contract and a lot of catching up ahead.

Joel Embiid almost destroyed Tracy Morgan and Regina King diving into stands

Joel Embiid almost destroyed Tracy Morgan and Regina King diving into stands

The stars were out in New York on Wednesday night to watch the Philadelphia 76ers.

A couple of celebrities sitting courtside got an extra-up-close look at Sixers' All-Star Joel Embiid when he went flying over the first row and landed on some poor soul with a few minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Just inches away from Embiid's big flying body was Oscar nominated actress Regina King. Right next to her was a man who can take a hit and keep on ticking, comedian Tracy Morgan. Their reactions were exactly what you'd expect from someone coming within inches of a 7-foot-2 giant flying at your head. 

Thankfully, nobody appeared worse for the wear and they all had a good laugh about it. The Knicks were the only people who really took an L on the evening.

Brett Brown was asked about Embiid's big leap following the game.

"Just like I'm sure our owners were thinking, and our fans back home in Philadelphia were thinking, you respect his aggression, you respect his passion but you don't want that," Brown said to reporters postgame. "I say that out of love and care. It came after a turnover and he's jumping into the stands. It's something you hope to avoid."

Embiid downplayed the jump when talking to reporters postgame.

"I play hard every night. That’s just me. I only know one way to play," Embiid said.

He also didn't realize he almost took out the If Beale Street Could Talk star.

"I didn’t know," Embiid said. "I just got told. It’s good that I saved her life, I guess."

You can catch Joel Embiid and his teammate Ben Simmons this weekend as they suit up against each other in the NBA All-Star Game down in Charlotte on Sunday.

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More on the Sixers

The Sixers are loaded — take that, Sam Hinkie!

The Sixers are loaded — take that, Sam Hinkie!

The Sixers are 36-20. They're fourth in the Eastern Conference, and they've been getting big wins over good teams. They've even made multiple trades, in which they've given up future draft choices in favor of talented players.

Sam Hinkie must absolutely hate it. 

I really don't understand the Hinkie people. For all those years, they rooted for open losing, no spending, and endless accumulating of second-round picks. Now, they want to trade draft picks — even second-rounders! — acquire veterans, and try to win. Why the double standard? 

I just can't believe anyone is claiming that Hinkie's "Process" led to the Sixers' success today. Please. Hinkie wanted to draft Andrew Wiggins instead of Embiid. Ben Simmons was drafted by Bryan Colangelo. All of Hinkie's draft capital led us to Markelle Fultz, so in a way that one's on him too. 

Michael Carter-Williams isn't walking through that door. Neither is Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor.

What's even better is that unlike in the Hinkie years, the Sixers are actually listening to the fans. Last Tuesday, a fan at the game yelled at Elton Brand to "make some moves." Brand traded for Tobias Harris hours later, and made two more trades that week. The lesson is clear: Heckling team executives in public gets results. 

The Sixers are well-positioned for a playoff run, and possibly even a multi-year run of success. And all it took was the effort of the general manager two general managers after Sam Hinkie. 

We're okay, as long as Joel Embiid doesn't get hurt, Jimmy Butler doesn't poison the locker room, and Ben Simmons doesn't force a trade to the Lakers. I told you that Kardashian girl was bad news! 

Eagles QB Drama

My solution to the quarterback dilemma is simple: Keep both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, by paying them both extra money under the table. What, like the Patriots haven't been doing that with Brady for 15 years. 

Meanwhile, we've got this so-called investigative story where a bunch of anonymous Eagles players called Carson Wentz "selfish." Now, I'm not sure I believe it, even after Carson gave that interview where he admitted that he can be selfish. 

But Carson put all our fears to rest Sunday when he sat next to wide receiver and possible anonymous source Alshon Jeffrey at the Sixers game. It was like when Tony, Carmela, Christopher, and Adriana all went to Vesuvios together, so everyone would see them together and getting along. Although I just hope Carson didn't overhear Alshon telling someone that he really does know Johnny Ola — I mean, Joseph Santoliquito. 

Other Philly sports takes: 

- Now that we didn't have a Wing Bowl, and the Eagles didn't win the Super Bowl, can we make it a goal in 2020 to bring back both? 

- I know it's been over a year now, but I'm still really angry that the media lied about the crowd size at the Eagles' Super Bowl parade. 

- I'm OK with the Phillies signing Manny Machado, but only on the condition that his contract is voided the first time he doesn't run hard to first base. That's reasonable, right? 

- Saints fans are pathetic whiners, the biggest crybabies in sports. That said, if a call like that cost the Eagles a playoff game, we'd have burned the league office to the ground. 

- Come on, give me one good reason why Lenny Dykstra isn't on the Phillies' Wall of Fame? 

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Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.