Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Mailata proves anything is possible

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Welp, it’s official: Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Jordan Mailata isn’t a $100 million man.

That infamous The Daily Telegraph article was wrong, Mailata didn’t sign a deal that made him the highest-paid tackle in the NFL, and unless he seriously steps up his game moving forward, he likely never will sign a deal with a nine-figure price tag.

… with that said, he got darn close, especially if he hits all of his bonuses.

What, you may ask, am I talking about? Well, to avoid burying the lead any deeper, Mailata just agreed to a new four-year extension with the Philadelphia Eagles featuring a base pay of $64 million, $40 million in guaranteed money, and bonuses that could ramp the total up to $80.

And to think, this guy never even played a snap of organized football before making it to the NFL. To paraphrase Kevin Garrett, anything is possible,  especially when you are a 6-foot-8, 346-pound man with sub-20 percent body fat.

Signing Jordan Mailata is good business for the Philadelphia Eagles.

When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jordan Mailata, no one really expected much.

After signing then releasing Army product Alejandro Villanueva only to watch him flourish as an offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Howie Roseman was on the hunt for a project tackle to build up RoboCop-style into the heir apparent to Jason Peters‘ throne.

On paper, not the worst idea. Peters himself was an undrafted free agent tight end who transformed into a legitimate Hall of Fame-caliber NFL left tackle. While Peters’ career might be a pretty high bar for any player to clear – because, again, he has nine Pro Bowls and two All-Pro appearances on his resume – securing one of the most uniquely athletic humans on the planet with a fantastic personality and a beautiful singing voice was surely worth a seventh-round pick, even if Howie Roseman technically traded two seventh rounders to get the deal done.

And, to Mailata’s credit, he put in the work.

After spending his first two years as a certified bench warmer sans any non-preseason regular playing time, Mailata finally took the field as a third-year pro in 2020 and looked darn good in his maiden effort at the position.

Remember, that game versus Washington wasn’t just Mailata’s first game in the NFL; it was his first game, period. He didn’t play in college, high school, or even middle school, as he instead spent all of his time as a Prop for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the Australian National Rugby League.

Was Mailata perfect? No. He was benched by Doug Pederson midway through the season but ultimately won back his spot down the stretch and looked completely in his element in a way players like Jamon Brown could only dream of.

But that string of 15 largely strong games wasn’t enough to garner Mailata a new deal or anoint him the left tackle of the future. No, the pride of Condell Park High School had to win a summer-long bare-knuckle brawl with 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard for a spot in the starting lineup, and even before his foe suffered a training camp injury, Mailata looked like the clear-cut option to win the Week 1 spot.

Is it maybe a tad early to pay Mailata, considering he is still under contract through the remainder of the year? Could they have maybe waited a few weeks and given him the same deal in, say, mid-October? Sure, but riddle me this: Wouldn’t the Eagles know if Mailata is worthy of an extension by now? I mean, they had him in camp all summer, in joint practices, and in preseason action; if the team was worried about his potential, he’d surely still be playing for a little less than $1 million without a massive bump on the books next season.

If the Eagles feel confident paying Mailata now, who are we to judge?

Next. Jordan Howard could play a big role in Week 1. dark

After having Jason Peters bookending their line since 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles have had to scramble to maintain continuity on the blindside. They invested a first-round pick into the position, signed a few interesting low-level options, and even brought back Peters for an ill-fated run in 2020. While few expected Jordan Mailata to be in this position when he was drafted on a Saturday afternoon a few years back, it’s certainly a happy, aspirational development.