Eagles pay up for Kelce to return in 2022


Jason Kelce is coming back for the 2022 season and the Eagles paid up to make sure that happened.

The Eagles and Kelce agreed to a one-year deal worth $14 million in 2022, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport had the news first.

This makes Kelce the highest-paid center in the NFL as his deal surpasses the $13.5 million APY multi-year deal the Lions gave to Frank Ragnow.

Kelce, 34, will get paid a lot in 2022, but he’s worth it. While he’s entering his 12th NFL season, he’s coming off his fourth All-Pro season and still has a strong claim as the best center in the NFL. And there’s no overstating what he means to the Eagles as they enter Year 2 with Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts running the show.

We’ll find out soon about the exact structure of this contract but it will be spread out and the Eagles gave Kelce a healthy bonus to limit the salary cap hit for this upcoming season. That has been a popular move for the Eagles in recent seasons and this is an obvious time to use that trick.

Back in January, the Eagles and Kelce quietly restructured his old deal, a league source told NBCSP. Instead of waiting until the new league year to pay out a roster bonus, the Eagles handed Kelce a $2 million signing bonus to spread that cap hit out over two seasons.

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With Kelce back for 2022, the Eagles will have a very strong offensive line. They’ll have some decisions to make; the top one being whether or not to move Landon Dickerson from left guard. But if Dickerson stays, then the Eagles can shift Isaac Seumalo to right guard.

So we could be looking at this starting line in 2022: Jordan Mailata, Dickerson, Kelce, Seumalo, Lane Johnson.

The Eagles also still have Jack Driscoll and Andre Dillard, among others, on their bench. We’ll see what happens with Nate Herbig, who is a restricted free agent.

In any case, getting Kelce to return for another season is a slam dunk for the Eagles and for Sirianni, who sent Kelce a keg of beer to help encourage him to come back. Apparently it worked. But I’m sure the big new contract didn’t hurt either.

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