Malcolm Jenkins pens letter to Philadelphia after parting ways with Eagles

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins speaks with members of the media at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke-AP

PHILADELPHIA -- PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles say that they will not pick up the 2020 club option on safety Malcolm Jenkins, signaling the departure of one of the most important players in franchise history.

"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 team 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."

"There are too many people to thank and too many great memories to single anyone out in particular. I can only say, I'm grateful to Mr. Lurie for the opportunity to represent this city. I thank my teammates for making me better every single say," read a portion of a letter to the City of Philadelphia.

The Eagles had until Wednesday to exercise the option, which would have paid him $7.6 million this season. Jenkins made it clear in January that he wanted a pay raise and wouldn't play in Philadelphia under the current contract.

"I won't be back on the same deal. That won't happen," he said as Eagles players cleaned out their lockers after a playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks in January.

Jenkins, 32, is seeking a deal more in line with his peers, even if his age keeps him from getting top dollar. The safety market has shifted considerably over the past couple of seasons, with the highest-paid players at the position making $14-plus million on average.

Jenkins' stance has been well-known for almost a year, yet he was unable to come to new terms with the Eagles, who are looking to get younger this offseason. On Tuesday, they re-signed cornerback Jalen Mills to a one-year deal worth up to $5 million with the intention of moving him to safety, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson.

Jenkins, a three-time Pro Bowler, was the undisputed leader of a team that captured the franchise's first Super Bowl championship in 2017. He did not miss a game during his six-year run in Philadelphia.

He finished 2019 with eight passes defensed, four forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks while lining up all over the field for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.