Eagles analysis

A living legend kicks off top 5 of most important Eagles list

Jason Kelce is 35 now but isn't anywhere close to slowing down

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Over the next few weeks leading up to training camp, we’ll be counting down the top 25 most important Eagles for the 2023 season.

25. Nolan Smith
24. Quez Watkins
23. Kenny Gainwell
22. Marcus Mariota
21. Reed Blankenship
20. Brandon Graham
19. D'Andre Swift
18. Avonte Maddox
17. Cam Jurgens
16. Fletcher Cox
15. Landon Dickerson
14. Jordan Davis
13. Nakobe Dean
12. Jalen Carter
11. James Bradberry
10. Jordan Mailata
9. Josh Sweat
8. DeVonta Smith
7. Darius Slay
6. Dallas Goedert
5. Jason Kelce

He’s supposed to be old. He’s supposed to be declining and slowing down.

He’s not.

In 2022, his 12th NFL season, Kelce was again one of the best centers in the NFL. The Eagles legend made his sixth Pro Bowl roster and was named an All-Pro for the fifth time in his Hall of Fame career. And these weren’t just hollow accolades; Kelce really was still exceptionally good in 2022.

And as long as Kelce still plays at this level, Nick Sirianni will have no problem sending over kegs of beer every offseason if that’s what it takes to keep Kelce coming back.

In March, Kelce announced his return for the 2023 season and it’s not at a discounted rate. The Eagles are paying Kelce $14.25 million this year, which keeps him as the highest-paid center in the NFL. If he continues to play at the level we’ve been accustomed to, Kelce will be worth every penny.

“I have put much thought into whether it makes sense to play another season,” Kelce said in a statement on Twitter in March. “After talking it over with my wife and many other friends and family, I have decided to return for another year.  Thank you to all my supporters and detractors for fueling me, I ain’t f—ing done yet!”

Kelce, 35, eventually admitted that losing Super Bowl LVII likely played a factor in his decision to return for another season but also said he thinks he would have played again in 2023 anyway. It’s hard to know what would have happened in an alternate reality.

What it really comes down to for Kelce is pretty simple: He still wants to play. And he’s still willing to make the commitment to doing all the things that goes into that.

“Every year he comes back, he’s pushing that more and more,” left tackle Jordan Mailata said. “He wants to get more out of drills. He wants us to get better at watching film. He wants us to be more football and fundamentally sound.”

Kelce’s decision to come back for another season means that it will push back the Cam Jurgens Era at center for at least one more year. That’s why Jurgens will compete for the starting right guard spot in training camp. Kelce apologized to Jurgens for returning and Jurgens just laughed it off. He said Kelce had nothing to apologize for; Jurgens is thrilled to have Kelce back.

That goes for the whole team. There’s no one in the NovaCare Complex who isn’t excited that Kelce is sticking around for at least one more season. One of those who was happiest was Jalen Hurts.

When asked what stood out to him most about the Eagles’ offseason, the Eagles’ franchise quarterback had a pretty simple answer:

“Kelce’s back,” he said.

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