Carson Wentz is happy. The Eagles quarterback will head into the opening of Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp a very happy camper indeed after signing a four-year contract extension that will pay him $128 million.
He will meet with reporters on Monday to tell everyone just how happy and excited he is about his new deal.
On the other side of the football, Malcolm Jenkins is not happy. The veteran safety is looking for a hefty raise and reportedly will not be showing up on Tuesday.
Jenkins certainly deserves a raise, and the Eagles still have money under the salary cap to reward Jenkins for his reliability – 80 straight starts since coming over as a free agent from New Orleans five seasons ago – and his standout play during that span. He is currently the ninth highest paid safety in the league and should be at least the in the top five, even though he is 31.
Jenkins did not participate in voluntary offseason workout and spring practices, and that meant more time for Tre Sullivan and Andrew Sendejo with the first unit because Rodney McLeod did not do anything, either as he continued to rehab from last year’s season-ending knee injury.
It’s doubtful the Eagles would do anything drastic – like trade Jenkins. That would likely mean that Avonte Maddox would become a full-time safety.
As good as Maddox is, the defense would suffer without Jenkins.
The Eagles shouldn’t let this linger and try to at least meet Jenkins at least halfway on whatever pay increase he is looking to get.
The safeties that will be in minicamp will bear watching. In addition to Sullivan and Sendejo, they are Deiondre Hall, Blake Countess, Godwin Igwebuike, and Trae Elston, who was added just last Wednesday after being out of football last season.
Here are five players who helped themselves during OTAs and will also be watched closely this week:
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The receiver is a second-round pick so it was encouraging to see him excel this spring. He showed great route running ability and looks like he will be a genuine red-zone threat once the preseason gets underway.
Shareef Miller. Another rookie draft pick, Miller showed some nice bursts off the edge as a defensive end and seemed to be around the quarterback more often than not.
Josh Sweat. The second-year defensive end looks like a different player than his rookie season. He seems to be playing with more confidence and, while always looking the part of an NFL stud at 6-5, 251, he somehow looks bigger this year.
Sidney Jones. Jones had a strong round of spring practices and may have put himself in the conversation to unseat either Jalen Mills or Ronald Darby as one of the starting cornerbacks.
Marken Michel. You might be thinking, who? Michel, a 25-year-old free agent from the University of Massachusetts, made a nice catch on a deep ball from Wentz in one practice, as he got behind Rasul Douglas, and Michel also seemed to catch everything else thrown his way. He is a longshot, but certainly one to watch as this week unfolds.
Here are five players that it would be nice to see have a solid week:
Miles Sanders: A hamstring injury during rookie camp in mid-May torpedoed the running back’s chances at reps during OTAs. The second-round pick didn’t participate in any OTA practices, but head coach Doug Pederson made it sound like the team was just being cautious with him, which means he may get some reps this week.
Joe Ostman. The Eagles sung the defensive end’s praises all offseason, but he didn’t exactly stand out in spring practices.
Jordan Mailata. Last year’s project looks like this year’s project as well. Now being cross-trained to play right tackle in addition to left tackle, Mailata didn’t exactly distinguish himself with Lane Johnson skipping OTAs.
Shelton Gibson. The wide receiver is in a battle to make the roster and needs to pick it up.
Mack Hollins. Mr. Invisible. Somehow, Hollins still has not recovered from whatever his injury (believed to be a groin) was that cost him last season and has yet to participate this spring. Missing minicamp would really put him behind in the fight to earn a roster spot.