Malcolm Jenkins becomes free agent after Eagles decline his 2020 option

Malcolm Jenkins will not be back with the Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles won’t exercise the 2020 option on the three-time Pro Bowl safety’s contract, the team announced on Tuesday. The move makes the 32-year-old Jenkins a free agent. 

“Malcolm Jenkins has been an outstanding player for us and we are proud of everything he accomplished both on and off the field during his time in Philadelphia,” the Eagles said in a statement. “Malcolm was a great teammate and leader, as well as one of the toughest and most reliable players to ever play in our city. After thorough discussion with Malcolm and his agent, Ben Dogra, both sides agreed on the difficult decision to turn the page on what was an incredible six-year relationship. We wish Malcolm and his family all the best as he pursues his next opportunity.”

Malcolm Jenkins (27) won a Super Bowl and earned three Pro Bowl nods during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. (AP Photo/Vera Nieuwenhuis)

Jenkins spent six seasons with the Eagles, signing with the franchise as a free agent in 2014 after beginning his career with the New Orleans Saints. Jenkins moved from cornerback to safety while with the Saints, and helped the team win the Super Bowl in the 2009 season.

Once he arrived in Philadelphia, Jenkins immediately became one of the team’s top players and leaders, first under Chip Kelly and then under Doug Pederson. Jenkins made three Pro Bowls during his time in Philadelphia and helped the franchise win its first Super Bowl, defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. That season, Jenkins totaled 118 tackles, 11 tackles for loss 12 passes defensed and two interceptions. 

Jenkins never missed a game as an Eagle and played at least 99 percent of snaps on defense and special teams in all six of his seasons wearing green. 

Jenkins wanted new contract from Eagles

Had the Eagles exercised Jenkins’ option for 2020, he would have been owed $7.6 million. However, Jenkins said in January — after the Eagles’ first-round playoff loss to Seattle — that he would not return to the Eagles “under the same deal,” meaning he wanted to be paid comparably to other top players at his position.

Jenkins previously voiced displeasure with his contract situation ahead of the 2019 season and some speculated he would hold out from training camp. However, Jenkins did report to camp and helped the Eagles win the NFC East. 

With the decision to move on from Jenkins, the Eagles will save “around $4.8 million” in cap space, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Eagles keep Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills

After making the decision to move on from Jenkins, the Eagles announced that two other impending free agents, Rodney McLeod and Jalen Mills, would be back with the team next season.

McLeod, who started at safety opposite Jenkins, agreed to a two-year deal worth $12 million per NFL Network. McLeod has been with the team since signing as a free agent in 2016. He missed most of 2018 with a knee injury, but played in all 16 games in 2019 and totaled 76 tackles and two interceptions. 

Mills, who will return on a one-year deal that’s reportedly worth $5 million, has primarily played cornerback during his time with the Eagles. Now, he will apparently transition to more of a hybrid corner/safety role in 2020.

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