Eagles blog

Jordan Mailata reflects on the journey that made him a very rich man

Jordan Mailata recently reflected on his journey from nowhere to one of the NFL's top paid offensive linemen.

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Jordan Mailata doesn’t reflect very often.

Mailata’s story will one day make for a great Hollywood move if they can find someone big enough to play him. But it’s tough to reflect on your life when you’re living it, when you’re trying to win football games and clawing to stop NFL pass rushers.

But during his recent 3 1/2-week honeymoon in Italy with his wife Niki, while staying in fancy Italian hotels with names he couldn’t even pronounce, Mailata finally took some time to think about his own story.

“Six years ago, I could barely afford a train ticket,” Mailata said.

Mailata, who recently turned 27, got a text from his agent while in Italy that the Eagles were interested in another extension. Mailata told his agent to handle it and he got back to his honeymoon.

And then last week, Mailata went from rich to richer when he agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Eagles that’s worth $66 million and runs through 2028. That average of $22 million per season is a nice bump from his previous average of $16 million and puts him in the top five among all NFL offensive tackles.

It’s even more of the type of life-changing money that seemed unfathomable when the Eagles took a flier on a seventh-round rugby player project back in 2018. 

So, yeah, a little reflecting was in order.

“I think it was important to recognize how far I’ve come into this career that I chose 7 years ago,” he said.

Even though offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland saw special traits in Mailata back in 2018, it was still hard to envision the young Australian becoming one of the best left tackles in the NFL. After he didn’t play in a single regular season game the first two years of his career, Mailata got an opportunity to start some games in 2020 and then won the starting left tackle job over first-round pick Andre Dillard in the summer of 2021.

Just before that 2021 season began, Mailata signed a four-year, $64 million extension. He got paid like an NFL starting left tackle.

This time, he got paid like one of the best left tackles in the NFL.

It’s a credit to Mailata that he didn’t rest. He had already come so far, from a guy with no background in the sport to a legit starter; but he kept working to get better and to achieve the standard set by Stoutland in Philly.

“Coach Stout is a big part. He doesn’t accept mediocrity,” Mailata said. “And so when you have a coach who has high standards and especially players in the room.”

Over the last three seasons, Mailata has started 47 games and, even though there have been some ups and downs, has been one of the better tackles in the league. He hasn’t yet been named to a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team but it seems like that’s only a matter of time.

On Friday afternoon, Mailata listed some of the players and coaches who have meant so much to his successful NFL career: Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Isaac Seumalo, Stefen Wisniewksi, Branodn Graham, Chris Long, Stoutland, Doug Pederson, Nick Sirianni, Roy Isvan Eugene Chung.

There have been many folks partially responsible for Mailata’s ascension.

But, of course, no one deserves more credit than the man himself. Because all of Stoutland’s coaching and Kelce’s tips and Sirianni’s words of encouragement wouldn’t do anything if Mailata wasn’t committed to being the best version of himself.

Even after all this money, Mailata has managed to stay grounded.

“Part of it is the way I was raised by my parents and my siblings,” said Mailata, who grew up as one of five siblings in Australia. “I recognize the opportunity that I have every day when I step foot into this building. It’s an incredibly humbling one because I came from humble beginnings. When you recognize the opportunity that you have, you want to take full advantage of it. But you also have to remember where you come from.”

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles signed Mailata’s best friend and offensive linemate Landon Dickerson to a massive four-year extension, which means both are under contract through the 2028 season.

Mailata is pretty excited about that.

He was also excited to learn this offseason that the Eagles signed running back Saquon Barkley. He found out that news while at dinner with his wife in Italy; she had to calm down his excitement at the restaurant.

All in all, it was a great honeymoon for the couple, who married last summer. It was a time for Mailata to think about where he’s come from, but also where he’s going.

"You’ve come a long way and you still have so far to go and so much to prove,” Mailata reminded himself. “I’m excited about it.”

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