Andy King/Associated Press
Philadelphia featured the 10th-youngest roster in the NFL last season, per Jimmy Kimski of Philly.com, which obviously is a great thing when that squad produces 10 wins. Of course, the downside to that—if there is any—is many of these kids are going to start asking to get paid.
With so many players on their rookie deal, the Eagles have been able to keep costs down, but that’s all about to change. Quite a few players will be up for extension next year, such as Nick Foles, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin. Thankfully, for now it’s just one.
Jason Kelce has made it three years in the NFL, which means he can sign a new contract, and it could be a big one. While Kelce was not on many people’s radar for the Pro Bowl this season, he arguably had the best overall season of any center in the league. Metrics site Pro Football Focus (subscription only) awarded the 26-year-old the highest cumulative grade at his position.
What’s the going rate for the best center in the league? Perhaps more than you think.
Based on average salary, Carolina’s Ryan Kalil is the highest-paid center in the NFL at $8.1 million per season, followed by Eric Mangold for the New York Jets at $7.7 million, according to Spotrac.com. Then there’s a steep drop-off to Seattle’s Max Unger at $6.4 million.
Still, that’s a hefty price tag for anybody.
The Eagles have to pay Kelce, though. Jason Peters, Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans are all in their 30s, so other parts of one of the league’s best offensive lines should start to deteriorate much sooner than the center. Plus, the chances of upgrading the position are slim to none.
Without the accolades or draft pedigree of Kalil or Mangold, it’s difficult to envision Kelce breaking the bank the highest-paid center in the league. It would not be a surprise to see him pull down a new contract that tops the next tier however.
As far as Eagles fans should be concerned, it will be worth every penny. There's no reason to let this linger into next year, when Kelce is scheduled to reach free agency. Get it done.