PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Eagles made a big commitment to center Jason Kelce when they gave him a six-year, $37.5 million contract extension. The dollars and years were an obvious factor in keeping Kelce in Philadelphia, but it wasn’t the only reason. The coach, and the front office, have impressed Kelce as well.
“The front office has just done a tremendous job. The new President Don Smolenski, Howie Roseman, Jeffrey Lurie, all those guys really did a great job of really sourcing this around or switching this around fast,” Kelce said. “They got rid of a lot of the cancers that I thought we had in the locker room or guys that really weren’t good for this team and then on top of that, they went out and made one of the best coaching hires, I think, they could have made—or probably the best coaching hire they could have made.”
Aside from the obvious change at head coach, the personnel on the field changed too. Gone were the high priced free agents that didn’t produce. Guys like Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Babin, who signed big contracts en route to big disappointments on the field, weren’t a part of the plan. In place, the Eagles signed players like Connor Barwin and Cary Williams, both brought solid play on the field, and a positive influence in the locker room.
“The biggest factor—well not the biggest factor, but one of the biggest factors–I’ve already been through an ACL tear. I’ve already been through a season where I could see how quickly things can change. There are so many unforeseeable things in the NFL, unfortunately, and I wanted to be locked into Philadelphia. I like being in the city, I like these coaches, I like this organization. I don’t want to be anywhere else. So, all that stuff combined really made this decision pretty easy,” Kelce said.
Things did change quickly in Philadelphia, going from 4-12 in 2012 to 10-6 and a division title in 2013. The offensive line that Kelce anchored was one of the best in the NFL.
“I probably could have signed a little bigger deal, especially if I go to the Pro Bowl and have a good year this year, but the main focus of these negotiations was just really getting that number in a relatively close to what I’d be getting in the open market and I think it’s pretty close,” he said. “It’s within the range I was looking to be.”