Malcolm Jenkins participated at the start of Eagles’ mandatory minicamp on Tuesday without any changes to his contract. And though Jenkins said he feels “respected” by the Eagles, he doesn’t believe he’s earning his market value.
Jenkins is in the third year of a four-year, $35-million contract he signed in 2017, and he has made three of the last four Pro Bowls. He has the ninth-highest average annual salary among safeties in the NFL after a spending spree at the position in free agency. Jenkins does not believe his contract reflects his on-field standing among safeties.
“I think it’s more so a reflection of the contract that I signed two years ago,” Jenkins said. “But, obviously, as a player, I feel like I’ve outplayed that contract. But there’s also a business side of the game. So those things come with negotiations, but it has nothing to do with what I put out on the field.”
Jenkins said he does not regret signing that contract, which he insisted was a good deal at the time. He noted how timing and market variables factor into the deals. And his desire for a new deal preceded free agency, when four of the five highest-paid safeties signed new contracts.
“I’m happy whenever any other player gets paid,” Jenkins said. “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 do and there are other people out there making more than you, you want to renegotiate your contract and make sure you’re getting the value you should be. Any business and any businessperson should think like that. I think any player should think like that.”
Jenkins said discussions with the Eagles are “ongoing,” but he didn’t indicate there’s a resolution. He emphasized that he’s not trying to become the NFL’s highest-paid safety and knows he’s under contract. However, he wants to be “within the ballpark” of his value.
He has had conversations with team owner Jeffrey Lurie and said their relationship is one of the reasons he chose to attend mandatory minicamp. Lurie made Jenkins feel “valued and respected.”
Those were words that Jenkins repeated. He said the team knows the value he provides, which is what a player wants.
Coach Doug Pederson said, “This offseason program is voluntary, and he never once said he was holding out, I don’t believe. No different than Jason Peters and Lane [Johnson], Alshon [Jeffery]. These guys are veteran players, and they understand what it takes to get ready. They’ve played a long time, and they’re Pro Bowl-type players. I’m not worried about Malcolm or any of the other guys I mentioned coming in ready to go.”
Jenkins said he attended minicamp because he wants to get back around his teammates and participate in the mandatory portion of the offseason. He would have been subject to a fine for skipping these sessions. He added that his absence from organized team activities was not entirely motivated by his contract. Jenkins is entering his 11th NFL season, and he’s never missed OTAs, which are voluntary. But he “needed some time off” this offseason, using it to travel and pursue his off-field endeavors, he said.
When he returned to the field on Tuesday, Jenkins said it “awkwardly” felt as though he never left. He was back with the first-team defense, just as he will be going forward. Jenkins said he will not hold out from training camp, and his focus is on playing football.