One week after signing tackle Winston Justice to a 4-year contract extension, the Eagles announced a 6-year deal with tight end Brent Celek that will keep him with the team through 2016.
A source close to the situation said Celek will make $33 million over the life of the contract, with $11 million in bonus money.
"I'm happy that I can spend the rest of my career here, hopefully," Celek said.
Meanwhile, with only three healthy wideouts, assuming DeSean Jackson sits Sunday with a concussion, the Eagles made a roster move Tuesday. Former Penn State wideout Jordan Norwood is up from the practice squad and corner Ramzee Robinson is cut.
Is this a good deal for Celek? The average is $5.5 million per year, with incentives, and last offseason, you could franchise a tight end for $4.62 million, so by current standards, certainly. The potential problem is the familiar one the Birds have faced many times in these situations -- is Celek going to feel underpaid, say, four years from now?
Of course, he gets $11 million in security, in a league where contracts aren't guaranteed and a player can suffer a career-ending injury at any time.
"I'll tell you right now that I'm set and I'm happy with my deal," Celek said. "I can promise you that I won't be up here complaining about my deal (in a few years), because they put trust in me by signing me early and giving me financial security for the rest of my life. I owe it to them to play out my deal."
The Eagles said they have now signed 22 players on the current roster (including players on injured reserve) to multiple contracts. Twenty-two players are signed through 2012 and beyond.
"Obviously, everybody talks about the financial aspects of it, but it’s nice, we always say this before the draft, before free agency, it’s nice to have basically your core group of guys locked up one way or another and not have to go out into free agency or the draft saying we need this position, we need that position," general manager Tom Heckert said. "That’s when the mistakes happen. The more guys we can have under contract and obviously the young guys and the guys we expect to be here for a long time, it’s the best case scenario.”
Asked about the team's philosophy on long-term extensions, general manager Tom Heckert said: "We're taking some of the risk, and so is [Celek]. "
Celek is one of four players from the Eagles' 2007 draft class still on the roster. Celek was a fifth-round pick. The others are second-rounders Kevin Kolb and Victor Abiamiri and third-rounder Stewart Bradley.
Celek has emerged as one of the NFL’s top tight ends in 2009, ranking tied for seventh in receptions (54), fifth in yards (601), and tied for fourth in touchdowns (5) among all tight ends. His reception and touchdown totals also lead the team.
Celek earned the starting job this season after a strong postseason performance in 2008, when he led the team with 19 receptions and three touchdowns. He set a franchise playoffs record with his 10-catch performance in the NFC Championship game at Arizona.
For his career, Celek has played in all 43 games (22 starts) since entering the league, posting 97 catches for 1,097 yards and seven touchdowns. His reception and yardage total have improved in each of his three seasons.
Celek suffered a thumb strain against Washington, which he termed torn ligaments. Celek said he "should be OK for this week." He wasn't wearing any sort of wrapping on his thumb during the press conference.