The two sides have been talking but there are a number of issues making a contract extension for tight end Dallas Goedert complicated, everything from the Eagles’ short-term salary-cap woes to Zach Ertz’s presence on the roster, and the cost-benefit analysis from both sides of the equation.
What’s almost guaranteed is an extension is coming at some point for Goedert, the team’s second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
There are five players the Eagles could consider when it comes to potential contract extensions in the coming weeks with the most notable being Goedert. The others in the group are defensive ends Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat, as well as cornerback Avonte Maddox and offensive tackle Jordan Mailata.
From the Eagles’ perspective, Goedert is first on the docket but the most likely player to get a second contract is his best friend and roommate, Maddox, because there are far fewer complications for Maddox, a player the team likes but hasn’t been overly productive while bouncing all around the secondary in his first three seasons.
Mailata is perhaps the dark horse as the one-time developmental project who will be battling for the starting left tackle job with Andre Dillard. Set to make just $850K in 2021, Mailata could be in line to jump to eight figures by next season if he wins the job and flourishes, meaning the Eagles could save some major money by being proactive.
Barnett is probably the least likely as he is set to play out the final year of his rookie deal at $10.05M this season as a former first-round pick who hasn't lived up to expectations. A second deal now for Barnett would be cost-effective for the Eagles while a 10-sack season could net Barnett a mint on the open market at a highly-valued position.
As for Goedert, the player himself confirmed that extension talks were underway earlier in the offseason.
"I think the contract stuff is still in discussions a little bit," Goedert said. "I'm not too worried about that...I would love to be in Philly forever and having the second contract is the ultimate goal. The sooner you can get to it, I feel like it's better.”
That’s a positive spin for the team because if Goedert decided to bet on himself in 2021 there is a very good chance that he could be in line for a top-of-the-market contract at his position
“I would not rule [Goedert betting on himself] out,” SiriusXM NFL insider Adam Caplan told SI.com’s Eagle Maven. “I’m not saying he doesn't want a deal, doesn’t want an extension. [The Eagles] would like to but he is so gifted.”
Right now, San Francisco’s George Kittle is the measuring stick at the position with a $15 million average annual value on his contract.
Four others are over a $10M AAV: Travis Kelce of Kansas City, the New England free-agent duo of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, and Cleveland’s Austin Hooper.
Next is Ertz, who the Eagles are expected to trade or release by Week 1. However, even if Ertz plays out the final year of his contract with the Eagles he’s been told that Goedert will be the TE1 by the new coaching staff, according to an NFL source.
More so, Nick Sirianni and Co. plan on shifting to an offense that uses more 11 personnel (three receivers) than his predecessor Doug Pederson.
All of that could mean a breakout year for Goedert and the leverage of impending free agency in 2022 would almost surely put him in line to be in the Kittle-Kelce range because contracts in the NFL are about timing and circumstance.
Right now the floor for Goedert might be Hooper.
“I don't see him getting the deal done unless he gets a market deal from what I understand,” Caplan said of Goedert. “When I say market, I'm not saying he's getting George Kittle’s deal. Nobody’s getting that deal. That is a historic deal at over $15M per season. … I think to get a deal done he's gonna have to do better than Austin Hooper.”
Goedert is leaving the business up to his agency, Rep 1 Sports led by Chase Callahan and the Tollner Brothers.
"Either way, whether I get [an extension] or not, I'm going to have the same mentality,” Goedert said. “I have to go in there, have a good year, we have to make the playoffs, we have to get more wins than we did last year."
In the end, there is plenty of uncertainty for both sides that make reaching a deal complicated.
“It won't be easy to do his deal,” Caplan noted. “... He's got time left and from an Eagles’ standpoint, they look at it and say 'OK, we love this player. He's been a great second-round pick to a certain extent but he does have an injury history.’ So how do you balance that?”
The ball is in Howie Roseman's court and the Eagles' GM has a history of being aggressive in these types of situations.
“This coaching staff absolutely loves this player,” Caplan said of Goedert. “He’s just one of those rare three-down tight ends that doesn't just block, he does everything well.
“There's risk on both sides. The player could undersell themselves. The team could overpay if they have a higher estimate that he's going to turn around and produce. It's a risk-reward on both party sides. Howie has shown the desire to do it.”
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.