The Philadelphia Eagles recently restructured Chris Long’s contract, but the defensive end said Friday he has yet to decide about his future.
“I love Philly so much. The fans, all of it. I’m making a football decision, though,” Long tweeted. “Money moved doesn’t mean it’s been made.”
Long, 33, was due a $2 million roster bonus, but it was moved to after April’s draft because he was uncomfortable accepting it now considering his uncertain future, an NFL source said.
Long, who has one year left on his contract, is slated to earn an additional $3.5 million in base salary and has a $5.6 million salary-cap number. He has said before that money will have no bearing on whether he decides to keep playing football.
He wants to have a prominent role, and considering his production as an edge rusher last season, he should have that opportunity, at least with some team. The Eagles retain his rights and likely want him back, but Long has said he would rather retire than play limited snaps.
“If people want a ‘locker room guy,’ I’m good, I can be a ‘locker room guy’ at home and take care of my family,” Long said last month at the Super Bowl before he won the NFL’s Man of the Year award for his charitable works. “But if I’m going to be a football player, I’ll pass it on.”
Long recorded 6½ sacks, 20 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles in 16 games. He notched a half-sack and four hits in two playoff games.
His production increased after Derek Barnett suffered a season-ending torn rotator cuff. Long played 59 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps in the regular season. But Barnett, a former first-round pick, will return as a starter, along with Brandon Graham, who signed a three-year, $40 million contract last month.
Michael Bennett, who rushed from both end and tackle spots, was traded to the Patriots last week. But the Eagles, in turn, signed free-agent defensive tackle Malik Jackson, a pass-rush specialist, to a three-year, $30 million deal this week, and his addition could mean fewer snaps for Long on passing downs.
The Eagles also have defensive ends Josh Sweat, Daeshon Hall, and Joe Ostman on the roster. Most of the big-name free agents have been signed, but there are a few noteworthy edge rushers still on the market, such as Justin Houston. The draft, which Eagles executive Howie Roseman said has “historic” depth at defensive line, also could figure significantly into their plans.