DeVonta Smith's contract extension: What it means for Eagles

ByTim McManus ESPN logo
Monday, April 15, 2024

PHILADELPHIA -- Wide receiver DeVonta Smith's $75 million contract extension with the Eagles continues an organizational trend: lock in core players as soon as possible and avoid the inevitable price increase.

Smith's new contract, announced by the team on Monday, ties the receiver to Philly through the 2028 season. Terms were not disclosed, but a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the contract guarantees Smith $51 million.

In Smith, they secure a productive player (2,262 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in the past two seasons) who has missed just one game due to injury since joining the Eagles as the 10th pick in the 2021 draft. He is also emerging as a leader and tone-setter for a team that lost two pillars to retirement this offseason: center Jason Kelce and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

Philadelphia now has two of the top-paid receivers in the game in Smith and A.J. Brown. How will the financials work? And with the addition of running back Saquon Barkley, are there enough touches to go around to justify the contracts and keep everyone happy?

Here are three numbers to consider:

$175 million: The combined value of Smith and Brown's contracts. The Eagles are the only team currently with two receivers ranked in the top 10 in total value and average annual salary, per Spotrac.

Both have deals averaging $25 million per season, putting them behind only Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins ($30 million), Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders ($28 million) and Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams ($26.7 million).

The only team with two wide receivers in 2024 making at least $20 million in cash value was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, per ESPN Stats & Information. Whether the Eagles join that group this season depends on how Smith's new money is allocated.

$26.5 million: Brown's projected cap number in 2025 -- currently the highest on the team.

The financials are manageable at the moment despite the eye-popping numbers. Brown carries a cap number of $12.2 million this season and Smith is on the books for $6.4 million, which shouldn't escalate given Smith's extension is for the 2026-28 seasons.

But Brown's cap number more than doubles next year while Smith, who will be playing on his fifth-year option in '25, is slated to make around $16 million.

With Jalen Hurts' cap figure also rising significantly in 2025 (from $13.5 million to $21.8 million), the Eagles could be feeling the squeeze this time next year without a Brown contract restructure -- or something more dramatic.

77: The average number of receiving targets for Barkley in the seasons in which he's played at least 13 games.

Coach Nick Sirianni has made it clear that the offense runs through Smith, Brown and tight end Dallas Goedert; that triocommanded 353 targets last season -- a 67 percent share.

But there's now another star skill player to account for. Barkley's receiving ability was part of the reason the Eagles went against their norm and paid the running back a three-year, $37.75 million contract.

"You have to be a great passing attack running back as well. For us it's got to be multifunctional," CEO Jeffrey Lurie said of Barkley in March. "And he exhibited a very special skill set both in the running and the passing game that we think certainly can be maximized by being on a team with better skill positions, quarterback, offensive line."

D'Andre Swift led all Eagles backs with 49 targets last year. Kenneth Gainwell led in 2022 with just 29 targets -- the first year Brown and Smith were paired together. Barkley had 60 targets in 13 games last season. The two times he played 16 games in a season -- in 2018 and 2022 -- he had 121 and 76 targets, respectively.

A projected three-down back, Barkley should get more opportunities than his Eagles predecessors by way of being on the field more. But how three highly paid players in Smith, Brown and Barkley get fed in the offense this season will be worth monitoring.

"What's important in the process of a season is that we build the connection, we build the team, so regardless of how much they're eating, everyone is excited for each other," Sirianni said.

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