Jason Kelce's Career has Reached Cliche Stage, Plus he Talks Possible Replacement

The Eagles center spent some time during his break from guest bartending for Eagles Autism Foundation to talk about his contract and who could ultimately take over for him
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SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. – An hour after working up a shirt-drenching sweat in 90-plus degree heat on Wednesday afternoon, Jason Kelce took a break from his duties as a guest bartender at the landmark bar known as the OD (Ocean Drive) in this South Jersey beach town.

The veteran center was on the way to raising $100,000 for the Eagles Autism Foundation, $50,000 of which came from his bank account when he and his wife Kylie decided to match the $50,000 raised from the hundreds of patrons who turned out for the event with Jason mixing and pouring drinks into the evening hours.

“So, are you ready to quit your day job, and do this full-time?” he was asked by SI.com Eagle Maven after being ushered into the inside bar for his first break of the evening.

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There was some laughter exchanged, though it was a semi-serious question.

Kelce’s career is effectively in the cliché stage of “taking it one year at a time.”

It’s been that way for at least the past three offseasons when he contemplates retirement. Now, his contract reflects the one-year mentality.

SCENES FROM JASON KELCE TENDING BAR IN SEA ISLE CITY

In March, the veteran Eagles center agreed to a one-year deal worth $9 million, which was a $4.5M raise from his prior salary. 

There are dummy years in the contract for salary cap purposes, but, according to a report by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, there is a clause that forces the Eagles to decide on Kelce’s future by next summer should Kelce decide he wants to return for a 12th season.

If Kelce, who is 33, is on the roster beyond June 2, 2022, he will receive $30M in guaranteed money. The Eagles could renegotiate a new deal for Kelce prior to June 2, of course, at a much lower number, perhaps similar to the $9M he will make in 2021.

Given how much Kelce loves the organization, the city, and the fans, he would likely agree to a number that is fair for both sides. The clause, he said, “just puts an end date (when) I have to make a decision; the team has to make a decision.

"It was something we put in just to make sure nothing was dragging out. None of us want to be left high and dry. I have too much respect for this organization and vice versa, so we’ll just do it one year at a time.”

There’s a secondary question to the topic of Kelce’s retirement: who will take his place?

SI.com Eagle Maven asked him that, too.

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Kelce did not want to reveal who he thinks it will be or should be, but instead threw out all the possible candidates at the moment, starting with Landon Dickerson, the second-round draft pick.

Then, in order, Kelce talked about Isaac Seumalo, Luke Juriga, and Nate Herbig.

“How ever that sorts itself out, when I’m done, Jeff (OL coach Stoutland) will find the best five guys to be out there at the same time,” said Kelce. “Whoever’s the center will be one of those five guys.”

Whoever is the center will have some awfully big shoes to fill.

Kelce’s career will be one worthy of discussion when he is eligible for Hall of Fame enshrinement and his No. 62 is certainly a candidate to be retired by the Eagles.

"I’ve been really fortunate to be healthy up to this point in my career largely and play a lot of football," said Kelce, entering his 11th season. "So, hopefully, that continues. It gets harder as you get older, but hopefully, we can keep it going."

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.