The year-to-year Jason Kelce retirement talk first started after the 2018 season but the sense of urgency wasn’t nearly as serious as the All-Pro center’s current sentiments when it comes to extending his career each offseason.
What was really going on back then was business as usual when it comes to successful veterans in the NFL. Kelce has one year left on his deal but all the guaranteed money on his contract has been paid out so something had to be done and if it weren’t, Kelce would have likely been happily walking off into the sunset.
Every comparison is a little different and the Eagles’ current contract machinations with Darius Slay certainly are because the Pro Bowl cornerback isn’t talking retirement and is going to play somewhere in 2023, a destination which is still more likely than not going to be Philadelphia.
The common denominator is that few veteran players want to enter a lame-duck year and there are really only two paths where it happens: a prove-it mentality (think James Bradberry after becoming a salary-cap casualty in New York) or they have to.
In the case of Slay, 32, the Eagles want him and he wants to be back but something has to happen with his contract. Philadelphia doesn’t want the scheduled excessive cap number in 2023 ($26.1 million), and Slay wants an extension that extends the Eagles’ commitment beyond 2023.
To that end, the Eagles gave Slay’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, permission to seek a trade, which better defined for the average fan means go out and see what others might be willing to offer, a clear indication that Howie Roseman believes he has his finger on the pulse of the market. In contrast, Rosenhaus will have to search for the outlier willing to go above and beyond.
Slay confirmed on his “Big Play Slay” Podcast that no trade request has come from his camp.
“I know what’s going on. I hear the rumors, I hear everything,” Slay said on The Volume. “I see everything all over the globe, all over the internet and I just want my fans to know Slay did not ask to be traded.
“But this is part of the business.”
In fact, it’s that aforementioned business as usual. Roseman is highlighting the current market conditions while working through a compromise.
“There’s no bad blood against neither one of us, me or Howie (Roseman). None of that,” Slay said. “We all good, great understanding. It’s just the business part of it. A lot of guys go up for trades, you know, they got a lot of money involved in this situation so it’s nothing big, nothing too serious. It’s just part of the business, man.”
There’s always a danger of alienating a star player and a team captain but being disciplined when it comes to roster building has always been a strength of Roseman.
What this isn’t is an either/or situation with Bradberry, the second-team All-Pro CB who bet on himself last season and is now set to cash in.
The Eagles still seem resigned to losing Bradberry and trading Slay isn’t likely to change that outcome, something that hints toward the Eagles and Slay working things out.
The last thing Philadelphia wants is to replace both of its star outside CBs.
“I do want to finish my career as an Eagle but we’ll see.” Slay said. “We be looking forward to it, man. Got time here. But best believe, I do want to be an Eagle. But if my job requires me to go elsewhere, then I’ll go. … I got a lot of years left in this game and I love this game, man. So it’s only right for me to finish off strong.”