Malcolm Jenkins was absent for the start of the Eagles’ organized team activities and will likely miss the next three weeks of workouts, NFL sources said Tuesday.
The practices during this period are voluntary, but Jenkins uncharacteristically skipped the first month of the offseason program. While he hasn’t publicly stated that his absence is related to his contract situation, sources close to the situation said that Jenkins would like to have the four-year, $35 million extension he signed in February 2017 reworked.
“I’m not going to get into any personal conversations that we’ve had,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday when asked if Jenkins’ no-show was contract-related. “But it is a voluntary program and Malcolm is one of those guys that’s a leader of the football team. Not concerned with him. We’re going to keep our focus on the guys that are here and get better today.”
Jenkins, the 10th-highest-paid safety in the NFL in terms of average yearly salary ($8.75 million), has been posting on social media game film of plays he made last season with explanations on the inner workings of his performance. The 31-year-old is one of the more versatile safeties in the NFL, and some of his contributions don’t show up on the stat sheet.
He’s also the play-caller for the secondary and one of the more vocal leaders on the Eagles. His age is obviously one reason the Eagles might balk at redoing his deal. They also don’t typically restructure long-term contracts only two years in.
Jenkins’ absence during this period isn’t necessarily a big deal. He’s hasn’t missed a game in the last five seasons and is a regular at practice. He’s been working out locally in Philadelphia, per a source.
“These guys are pros,” Pederson said. “They understand their bodies. They understand that when they are here that they’re ready to play and ready to go. He’s a guy that I don’t have any concerns or worries about.”
The Eagles are light at safety with Jenkins out and Rodney McLeod still recovering from last season’s knee injury. Tre Sullivan and Deiondre’ Hall return. The Eagles also added Andrew Sendejo, Blake Countess and Godwin Igwebuike to the roster this offseason.
“This is OTAs. This is not Week 1,” Pederson said. “I’m not concerned about [missing Jenkins and McLeod] right now. My concern with Rodney is getting him healthy and getting him ready and getting him back out there. It’s a great opportunity for the rest of the guys that are here and working, just seeing what we have depth-wise on the roster.”
If Jenkins stays away for all of OTAs, the next key date to watch will be June 11. That is when mandatory mini-camp will begin. He would be fined around $80,000 if he were to skip the three-day workouts.