Philadelphia Eagles: Malcolm Jenkins is the Brian Dawkins redux

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

The Philadelphia Eagles are letting Malcolm Jenkins walk; didn’t they learn their lesson last time?

History is doomed to repeat itself.

Or something like that. I don’t know; I’m all cooped up and not thinking straight.

But it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t thinking straight either, with word coming out that they will not retain safety Malcolm Jenkins, a player who we can safely call the heart of the club. Here’s a guy who played six season for the Eagles and never missed a game. He started all 96 regular season games during that time, and he added his valuable contributions over six playoff contests. And of course, he’ll forever be a Super Bowl Champion here in Philadelphia.

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So what gives?

Yes, he’s already the ripe old (football) age of 32, and he made it publicly known that he didn’t have any interest in returning to the Eagles at his current salary, feeling that he was due a big raise. Honestly, he had a point. Three-time Pro Bowlers don’t grow on trees.

But even though Jenkins has stayed on the field while every. single. one. of. his. teammates. dropped. like. flies, the Eagles have decided to part ways with their defensive captain, the man who I dubbed in a recent list as the sixth best Philadelphia athlete of the decade that just ended.

I understand the financial ramifications, and Jenkins’ relative age is admittedly a concern. But come on, we already went through this 11 years ago with Brian Dawkins. How did that turn out?

It was a PR nightmare for the Eagles, specifically Andy Reid, who was calling the shots at that time. It might have even been his biggest black eye as coach and decision maker for the organization, as he let a Hall of Fame player walk after 13 years with the club. The Eagles wouldn’t match what Dawkins wanted, as he signed with the Broncos and continued to play at a high level (no Denver altitude pun intended) for a few more seasons when he could have been helping the Birds instead.

Jenkins isn’t Dawkins, few are, but the situation is similar enough that it certainly feels like the same mistake is befalling this version of the Eagles. Plus, Jenkins is three years younger now than Dawkins was when he left town.

This isn’t sentimentality talking, saying that a team should do everything it can to retain players who were key contributors to a championship even when they’re past their prime. You can go ask Ruben Amaro Jr. about that.

Jenkins still has a lot to offer, and he’s going to get paid big by someone soon. And every Eagles fan will be wishing him the best, much like they did with Dawkins over a decade ago. It’s rare that an “outsider” like Jenkins ends up being as beloved by the fans as he is, but his play and his leadership earned him that respect here over the last six years.

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If you need me, I’ll be here in my house, just being sad about not being able to see Malcolm Jenkins patrol the secondary for the Eagles any longer. It doesn’t cut as deeply as losing Brian Dawkins did; Super Bowls go a long way toward the healing. But I can easily see this being a decision the Eagles will regret. They might be saving some money in the here and now, but they’ll pay in other ways.