Jenkins, who skipped the voluntary portion of the offseason training program, is attending the team’s mandatory minicamp this week. He appeared in good spirits and is focused on the task at hand, but it’s clear that the compensation issue remains unresolved.
“I think like any other business you look at what the market value is, and based off of your production, what that value is,” he said. “When you’re under contract, you can’t be the highest paid out there, nor would I want to be, but you want to be within the ballpark of what your value is.”
Jenkins, 31, has two years remaining on the four-year, $35 million extension he signed in 2016. The going rate for quality safeties has since gone way up. A number of players got lucrative deals this offseason, including Tyrann Mathieu (three years, $42 million) with the Chiefs, Landon Collins (six years, $84 million) with Washington, Earl Thomas (four years, $55 million) with the Ravens and Lamarcus Joyner (four years, $42 million) with the Raiders.
Jenkins ranks ninth among safeties in average salary ($8.75 million) and has little guaranteed money remaining.
He approached the Eagles about a new deal right after the season, he said, and his position was only reinforced after watching his peers get paid in free agency.
“I’m happy whenever any other player is getting paid. But obviously, you start to look at where you are and evaluate your position just like anybody in any job, if you feel like you’re the best at what you’re doing and there are other people out there that are making more than you, you want to renegotiate your contract and make sure that you’re getting the value that you should be,” he said. “I think that any business person would think like that. I think every player should think like that.”
There wasn’t much optimism that Jenkins would attend minicamp without a new deal despite the fact that he’d face a potential fine nearing $90,000. A close relationship with owner Jeffrey Lurie and a feeling that he is properly respected by the organization, however, helped convince him to show up.
“For me, I think they understand the value that I bring and I feel respected, which I think is the biggest part. As a player, you want to make sure that you feel valued and you feel respected. But there is a business side of it,” he said. “At the end of the day, I think everybody wants to win. I love being an Eagle, I love being here, I love this team, this locker room, and I want to be a part of it. So that’s why I’m here.”
He strongly hinted that he plans on attending training camp this summer even without a new contract.
Jenkins was on the field for all 1,038 defensive snaps in 2018, finishing with a team-high 97 tackles, eight passes defensed and an interception. He has not missed a game since signing with the Eagles in free agency in 2014 and has led the defense in snaps in each of his five seasons in Philly, earning three Pro Bowl berths over that time while helping the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title.