The Eagles are said to have reworked Chris Long’s contract to lure him back for an 11th NFL season, but reports conflict on whether Long has accepted the deal and wants to return.
ESPN reporter Field Yates first tweeted that the front office has reworked Long’s contract, guaranteeing him $3 million this season, including a $2.5 million guaranteed base, replacing a $1 million, non-guaranteed base and roster bonuses and incentives. That would increase his 2018 cap number by about $750,000.
But then NFL.com writer Michael Silver, who did an in-depth interview with Long before the Super Bowl, tweeted that the offer had not been accepted and that a decision should come later this week. Silver also said that the 2018 guarantee would be $4 million and that the proposed deal would be extended through 2019.
Long and his agent could not be reached for comment.
Given the comings and goings along the Eagles’ defensive front this offseason, it hasn’t seemed a lock that Long, who will turn 33 next Wednesday, will return for the second season of his two-year contract.
Long exceeded expectations last season with five sacks, his highest total since 2013; a team-high four forced fumbles; and a career-high 38 hurries. But the Birds’ addition of 34-year-old Haloti Ngata and 32-year-old Michael Bennett to the d-line this offseason, in place of younger Beau Allen and Vinny Curry, changed the vibe.
At some point, you can have too many over-30 veterans in a position grouping. Plus, it wasn’t clear Long wanted to continue; he seemed to want clarification of his role. Bennett, who has made the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons, could take some of Long’s snaps.
“I don’t know yet. I’m working something out right now,” Long told SB Nation earlier this month. “At 32, you have limited time left to play the game you love, so the role has to be exactly right for me.
“I can still play at a high level, and I’m hungry to play, but every player my age has to weigh how they want to go out,” Long said. “The 25-year-old me would tell the 32-year-old me to take the two [Super Bowl] rings and go start the next chapter in life, but it’s never simple when you still have gas left in the tank. We’ll have to see what shakes out.
“So short answer, I have no idea. I love Philly, though. The city would make it hard to walk away.”
Long, the second overall pick in the 2008 draft by the then-St. Louis Rams, never experienced a winning season in eight years there, but he has played for a Super Bowl winner each of the past two seasons – New England in 2016 before coming to the Eagles.