The Eagles haven't had much good luck lately handing out contract extensions, but that didn't sway them from locking down Jordan Mailata with a four-year deal on Saturday afternoon that will keep him in Philadelphia through 2025.
Nearly two years ago, in November of 2019, they gave right tackle Lane Johnson $72 million over four years and right guard Brandon Brooks $56M over the same length of time, and kicker Jake Elliott got a five-year deal worth potentially $19M.
A few months later, in June of 2020, Brooks tore an Achilles.
Two months after that, Johnson had tightrope ankle surgery, which didn't really help, and he had to have another surgery later in the season that shut him down.
Meanwhile, Elliott struggled in his first full season after his new deal.
Then there was the one that hurt the most, that one given to quarterback Carson Wentz in June of 2019, one that has them eating nearly $34M on their salary cap this season.
When it came time to making Mailata part of their long-term plans, general manager Howie Roseman never blinked despite the recent spate of bad luck.
Extending Mailata certainly has its share of risk, but it also brings a high reward.
Some may view paying an unproven starter as risky business, but the reward of saving millions while compensating a player for what the organization believes he can become is well worth taking that chance.
Paying Mailata before Dallas Goedert might be a shock to some, but the Eagles stuck to their organizational philosophy and valued securing their left tackle for an amplitude of reasons.
First, they invest in the offensive and defensive lines.
Second, the white flag has been waved on Andre Dillard’s chances of becoming a starter for the Eagles.
It’s fair to wonder how the team views their 2019 first-round pick moving forward after Mailata’s extension, but a new coaching staff took one training camp to make up their mind who the left tackle is currently and for years to come.
At tight end, however, the team has co-starters at the position between Goedert and Zach Ertz.
Ertz is coming off his best training camp in the league, while the Eagles also have a promising prospect in Tyree Jackson, who will have the luxury of patience and time through his development, and an undrafted free agent in Jack Stoll that they like a lot.
Goedert is aiming to make top-five tight-end money on the open market, and rightfully so. The 26-year-old’s best playing days are ahead of him, and the league has a high perception of him, as evidenced by the Minnesota Vikings calling to see if the Eagles had any interest in trading Goedert.
Roseman stamped that out by setting a price he knew the Vikings wouldn't match, and if they did, he would probably have accepted.
Currently, the Eagles' picture in their tight end room isn’t as straightforward as their left tackle group, which is why Philadelphia stuck to their roots and locked up their blindside protector abruptly.
Roseman is handling his to-do list well so far, heading into Week 1. Philadelphia needs to present this new coaching staff with a core unit of players that will be a part of this regime for years to come.
Mailata is the first piece to that core, and possibly Josh Sweat or Derek Barnett could be next before Goedert.
Turning attention to those extensions before Goedert’s does not signal it is the end for him in Philadelphia by any means.
It allows Roseman to answer more questions about the roster's future while buying him time to get maximum value out of his tight-end group in their most competitive state.
Ertz wants a new deal and has to rejuvenate his market heading into free agency in March, coming off his worst season in the league.
Goedert is looking to cash in on his reputation heading into his prime. This is an excellent problem for Roseman to have.
Dillard was never going to threaten Mailata’s starting chances in any shape or form, and training camp undoubtedly proved it. The Eagles knew without question this was their left tackle moving forward, so why not just get the deal done?
The organization may not have as clear of an answer on Goedert as they do Mailata just yet.
With his value being what it is, the Eagles could capitalize on a return package for the young tight end even with slapping the franchise tag on him. Of course, Ertz has to return to form, and the development of Jackson and/or Stoll has to inspire them to feel compelled to move Goedert.
The tight end from South Dakota could also have the season of his life, which further casts Ertz into the shadows, and erases any doubt in the team’s mind he deserves top tight end money.
At that point, Goedert's market value will soar.
Well, why couldn’t the Eagles do the same for Mailata, simply wait?
Because the organization stuck to their philosophy and valued the trenches above any other group than the quarterback, like they have routinely done, and have won a Super Bowl doing so.
George Kittle, the highest-paid tight end, averages $15 million per year on his current deal. The highest-paid left tackle, Trent Williams, averages $8 million more at $23 million.
When a team possesses a left tackle they believe in, you secure that left tackle on a long-term contract and pay him with no questions asked. That’s simply what the Eagles did with Mailata and most likely what they’ll do with one of the younger edge rushers the team prefers.
Goedert’s money will come whether it’s in Philadelphia or not, but the Eagles have plenty of time and more pressing positions on the roster that need securing than tight end.
Conor Myles covers the Philadelphia Eagles for SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-hosts the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast on Bleav Podcast Network. Reach Conor at ConorMylesSI@gmail.com or Twitter: @ConorMylesSI
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 or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.