Philadelphia Eagles: Alshon Jeffery is the anti-Antonio Brown

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

While he may not be the league’s top receiver, the Philadelphia Eagles happily guaranteed Alshon Jeffery’s 2020 contract because he’s the anti-Antonio Brown.

On a day where Antonio Brown was stripped of his guaranteed money, released by the Oakland Raiders and subsequently signed by the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles quietly made a restructuring move to keep their top receiver in midnight green for at least one more season.

That’s right, as AB grabs headline after headline for his new one-year, $15 million deal ($9 million guaranteed) Howie Roseman has restructured the contract of one Alshon Jeffery; converting $11.75 million of the star receivers’ money into a signing bonus (as per Ian Rapoport).

While this doesn’t seem like a huge deal – and it really isn’t in the grand scheme of things – it does mean that $11.5 million of Jeffery’s $12.75 million cap hit will be guaranteed in 2020.

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Granted, it’s not like the Eagles were going to let Jeffery walk two seasons into a four-year, $52 million extension he signed midway through the 2017 season, especially at the age of 30, but in exchange for a bit of cap flexibility, Philly guaranteed that their top wideout will be happily – and gainfully – employed for the duration of the 2020 season.

And frankly, I don’t think the Eagles could be happier to lock up a player like Jeffery long-term.

The crown jewel of the 2017 wide receiver free-agent class, Jeffery was brought to the City of Brotherly Love to give then-second-year franchise quarterback Carson Wentz a legitimate threat on the outside. While some initially attempted to discredit the decision to pay Jeffery $14 million due to his preserved underachievement with the Chicago Bears, that ended by Week 2, when Big Al lit up the Andy Reid-led Kansas City Chiefs to the tune of seven-catches for 92 yards in an ultimately losing effort.

Sure, Jeffery may not play like a prototypical number one receiving option like, say Brown, or Julio Jones – another receiver who just earned a lucrative extension – but he’s consistently made the Eagles better despite only averaging 58.7 yards per game in Doug Pederson‘s option-heavy offensive.

Over the last two seasons, Brown has averaged almost 30 more points a game than Jeffery and recorded 12 more 100 yards games (14 vs. two), and yet something tells me the Eagles would still rather stick with what they have over rolling the dice on a more talented, yet increasingly troubled pass catcher.

Something tells me Mike Mayock, and the Oakland Raiders wish they would have traded for Jeffery as well  – except for maybe Jon Gruden.

Though he can get pretty flashy catches on 50-50 balls, to call Jeffery low maintenance may be an understatement – he’s the definition of a consummate professional.

Jeffery was so committed to putting his team first that he reportedly played much of the 2017 season – a contract year mind you – with a torn rotator cuff. While this clearly didn’t stop him from hauling three passes for 73 yards in the Super Bowl, Jeffery almost immediately had surgery to fix the issue with the hopes of hitting the field again for a title defense in 2018 – making his season debut against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4.

Brown, on the other hand, sat out the entire preseason because of a helmet (and frostbitten feet) and asked for his release after a near-fist fight with his team’s GM cost him $30 million in guaranteed money.

In the NFL, the best ability is availability.

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Ultimately, it’s up for debate as to which player will have a better statistical season in 2019, as the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots have two of the deepest wide receiving corps in the league, but regardless of how the season shakes out, it’s clear Alshon Jeffery will continue to be employed – and beloved – for years to come because his substance is everything Antonio Brown’s flash isn’t.