A day after signing a popular veteran member of the defensive line, the Eagles extended the contract of a popular veteran member of the offensive line, adding one more season to the deal of center Jason Kelce, the team announced on Saturday.
The move comes on the heels of the team inking defensive end Brandon Graham to a three-year deal on Friday before Graham hit the open market on March 13.
Kelce’s extension is now expected to keep him in Philadelphia through the 2021 season.
Kelce, 31, had two years left on his deal and was owed $13.5 million over the next two seasons. He was due to have a salary cap charge of $6.5 million this season, but the new deal will likely decrease that number as the Eagles look to get as far beneath the cap as possible with the start of the new league year right around the corner.
There had been reports that Kelce could retire following this past season. Those reports don’t appear to be accurate now.
“Obviously it’s a tremendous gesture by the team,” said Kelce on the Eagles’ web site. “They didn’t have to do anything like this. I’m really happy to be in Philadelphia – I have been my whole career.
“I love being part of this organization. For everything to continue to go this week, for the team to be how good it is, for the coaches to be as good as they are, I just feel extremely lucky to be in this situation.”
Kelce will always be remembered for the fiery and inspiring speech he gave on the steps of the Art Museum dressed in a Mummers costume during the Eagles’ parade to celebrate their Super Bowl LII title last February.
He was drafted by the Eagles in the sixth round back in 2011 out of the University of Cincinnati and has started 73 straight regular season games, which is tied for the second longest active streak by a center behind the Titan’s Ben Jones, who has started 80 in a row.
Since 2016, Kelce has appeared in a team-leading 3,226 offensive plays, of which 1,919 were passing plays and has allowed just four sacks. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro. He has played in the fourth most games (110) by a center in Eagles history, trailing only Chuck Bednarik (169), Guy Morriss (158) and David Alexander (124).
“I thought after I signed my second contract that I didn’t know that there would be a third contract. I’ve always taken one year at a time. Being a sixth-round draft pick, I didn’t have expectations, really. I was just like, ‘Let’s go to work and see how everything turns out.’
“It’s pretty crazy when you look back at things to realize that you’re going on Year Nine and on your third contract in the NFL. It’s kind of a surreal feeling when you look back on it.”