Malcolm Jenkins Says He Hoped to Cement His Legacy with Eagles in Free Agency

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 21, 2020

Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins works out prior to an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. The Seahawks won 17-9. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Malcolm Jenkins' six-year run with the Philadelphia Eagles ended Wednesday, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the three-time Pro Bowler agreed to a four-year deal with the New Orleans Saints

In a farewell note to the city of Philadelphia, Jenkins wrote on the Players Tribune that he "never" wanted to leave the Eagles and hoped to cement his legacy with the organization:

"It's my legacy that I'm concerned with. 

"And it's no secret that I wanted a new deal—no secret that I felt like I deserved one. Not so I could be the highest-paid player at my position (even though I regard myself as being of that caliber), but so I could cement my legacy in Philadelphia forever. I wanted a deal that showed me that my sacrifices to the game have been recognized. I'm no idiot. I know money is tied to timing, market value, age, the draft, and so on. But legacy? That's tied to the player, and to the name on the back of his jersey. 

"Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I wasn't able to ensure that my name would end up on the back of an Eagles jersey this year. But hopefully the legacy that I leave behind will last in the most important way: over time. And maybe then, maybe one day in the future when I've hung up my cleats, I can be in the company of the Eagles greats. It would be a dream come true."

The Eagles held an option on Jenkins' contract for next season, but they announced Tuesday they would let him test free agency. 

The Saints, who drafted Jenkins No. 14 overall in 2009, leaped at the opportunity to bring the 32-year-old back. His deal will be worth up to $35 million, with $16.5 million fully guaranteed. 

Even though Jenkins didn't get the opportunity to close his career in Philadelphia, his six-year run with the Eagles was a massive success. He was named to the Pro Bowl three times (2015, 2017-18) and recorded four tackles and one pass breakup in the team's 41-33 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.