When Jordan Mailata won the left tackle job last summer, the Eagles had seen enough.
Just a few years after they drafted the Australian rugby player and long-term project in the seventh round of the 2018 draft, the Eagles signed Mailata to a multi-year contract extension just before the start of the 2021 season.
That contract — four years, $64 million — is already being called the biggest bargain in the NFL. ProFootballFocus on Thursday released its list of the 32 best contracts in the NFL and two Eagles made the list: Dallas Goedert at 31 and Mailata at No. 1.
Here’s part of what PFF’s Brad Spielberger wrote about Mailata:
“Mailata improved each year, and he finally got on the field in 2020 for 733 snaps. That, plus years of practice reps, was all Philadelphia needed to see before extending him on a four-year contract. Given the small sample size of actual gameplay, his $16 million per year extension raised some eyebrows, and understandably so.
“One year later, the deal is a bargain of the highest order. Mailata earned an 87.4 overall grade with an 83.3 pass-blocking grade and 87.8 run-blocking grade, a true dancing bear with tremendous footwork for his size and lack of experience. Mailata already generated the second-most Wins Above Replacement among all tackles in 2021, behind only San Francisco 49ers tackle Trent Williams, and there’s still more room for him to grow.”
Mailata’s four-year extension, which runs through the 2025 season, is worth $64 million with over $40 million in guaranteed money. Mailata’s average per year of $16 million ranks him tied for 10th in the NFL among left tackles and 15th in the NFL among overall tackles, according to OverTheCap.
Based on Mailata’s level of play in 2022, this deal is already a bargain for the Eagles and the extension hasn’t even kicked in yet.
The good news for Mailata, 25, is that he has a chance to earn some extra money if he plays at the level he did last year. While he didn’t make the Pro Bowl in 2021, he played at that level and if he finally gets named to the team throughout his contract, he’ll hit some escalators.
According to a league source, Mailata has the following escalators in his contract if he becomes a Pro Bowler or if he’s named as a first- or second-team All-Pro:
2022: $1.6 million escalator
2023: $3.2 million escalator
2024: $4.8 million escalator
2025: $6.4 million escalator
Escalators are not one-time bonuses. If Mailata were to make the Pro Bowl in 2022, then that $1.6 million becomes a base salary pay raise on all future years of his contract.
But even if Mailata starts hitting those escalators, he’s still going to be a bargain for the Eagles. Here’s a closer look at the four-year extension, which included signing bonuses and option bonuses for cap purposes:
Base salary: $965,000
Cap hit: $4.372 million
Base salary: $1.08 million
Cap hit: $7.671 million
Base salary: $14.5 million
Cap hit: $21.091 million
Base salary: $15.5 million
Cap hit: $22.091 million
If Mailata were to simply play out this four-year extension and leave as a free agent in 2026, he would leave $6.775 million in dead money on the Eagles’ books for that season.
But by 2026 Mailata will still be under 30 and if he plays at a high level during this extension, the Eagles will lock him up on another one long before he gets close to free agency. That’s how they operate and that’s how this Mailata deal ended up being such a bargain.
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