Philadelphia Eagles: Malcolm Jenkins is still vital in 2020

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

While Malcolm Jenkins may not be the youngest safety in the league, moving on before the 2020 season would be a massive mistake for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Philadelphia Eagles‘ season may be over, but fanbase drama is still at an all-time high, though to be fair, what do you expect after such a disheartening postseason exit?

With football still technically going on, though obviously not here, Eagles fans took to Twitter on a nondescript Thursday to discuss Eli Manning‘s meddling career, four Birds heading to the Pro Bowl, and/or Brandon Brooks being named Pro Football Focus’ top-overall offensive lineman, but little did they know what storm of controversy was headed their way.

Seemingly out of the blue, Natalie Egenolf of the Mike Missanelli Show/NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Birds Outsiders drops a WOJ-level bomb on a few prominent Eagles players who sources say may not be returning to the team next fall.

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Ronald Darby? Makes sense. Alshon Jeffery? That tracks. Agholor? Jenkins? Jernigan? Vaitai? That all makes sense.

Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold up. Jenkins? Like Malcolm Jenkins Jenkins? Is Cullen Jenkins trying to make a comeback? Did she spell Jason Peters wrong?

I’m confused.

And quite possibly the most confusing aspect of this whole Tweetstorm are some of the responses wishing the three-time Pro Bowler farewell.

Seriously? I understand Jenkins is among the oldest players on the Eagles’ roster, and yet justifiably wants to be paid like a top-tier safety, and I get that his role on the defense is kind of hard to quantify for fans who don’t religiously watch every single play with a magnifying glass but to say that the Eagles would be better off without their defensive leader going into 2020 is not only misguided but just plain untrue.

Why? Because Jenkins does everything.

Since coming to the City of Brotherly Love all the way back in 2014, Jenkins has played 6,388 of a possible 6,470‬ defensive snaps while starting all 96 games – good for over 98 percent of the total defensive snaps. Jenkins has also played an average of 886 special teams snaps over his six seasons with the team, or about 32 percent of their defensive snaps each season.

But it’s not just how many snaps Jenkins plays on any given game that matters, but instead, what he does with them that really counts, and the Ohio State product may have more responsibilities than any other defensive player in the entire league.

Serving as Jim Schwartz‘s swiss army knife, Jenkins has logged snaps at free safety, strong safety, slot cornerback, outside cornerback, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, and even defensive lineman over his 96 game tenure with the club. Granted, labeling Jenkins an edge rusher is a bit cheeky, but if it’s good enough for Pro Football Focus, it’s good enough for me.

Factor in that a slew of box safeties like Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu, and even Eric Reid earning weighty extensions last offseason, all of whom had less impressive stat lines than Jenkins in 2019, and it’s not too surprising to see number 27 looking for a new deal – a green new deal, if you will.

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Could something like a four-year, $50 million deal backfire on the Philadelphia Eagles on the back-end? That is entirely possible, but if the money is right, and Howie Roseman can lock in the borderline franchise Hall of Famer to a two-year deal with something like $26 million, then it makes a ton of sense for Malcolm Jenkins to return in 2020, but potentially close out his career in the City of Brotherly Love – a luxury the team’s last great safety, Brian Dawkins, wasn’t afforded.