NEXT year DE Chris Long is due 3.5M$ in the final year of his contract. That’s a pittance for what we’re getting in exchange. Aside from being a reliable, productive player, Long is an extremely high-quality person off the field. On the field, he plays starter level minutes, but he never bitches that he doesn’t get to start, and doesn’t make starter level money. (Note: Over the last two seasons, Long has more sacks (11.5) than any giant besides starter Olivier Vernon (13.5).
Chris is rare. Our odds of finding another player like him, are staggeringly low. When he leaves, regardless of how he leaves, we will miss him. Even if we find another player like him, we’ll have a situation where we could have had two like him. There is no getting around the fact that we are better with him. And Jerome forbid, Long should go to a division rival, like the aforementioned giants!
So keeping Long should be a no-brainer.
He said that he’s mulling retirement. However he also said “I’m literally just kind of sitting back and seeing what the Eagles do, and who they bring in, or don’t bring in, and how deep that room gets.” And he also said “Listen, I know I’m an older guy. But, you know, I don’t think I’ve missed a practice over the last two years. I feel like I’ve been durable and ready when called upon.” In addition to that, and most importantly, he said “I’d like to play football in 2019”.
Let me run that by you one mo’ ‘gin: “I’d like to play football in 2019”.
What you just read were multiple examples of a guy quietly making his case. He’s saying to the Front Office that he’s still viable. That he still has good football in him. He’s waiting for the Eagles to say “Chris, we’d like you back. Will you come back?” That’s it. That’s what the man is waiting for. He has a contract, he just wants to know if Executive Vice President of Football Operations (EVPF– Fuck it), GM Howie Roseman wants him to stay.
Last year (March 2018) when he was mulling retirement, I said we’d be fine at DE, even with the loss of he and Vinny Curry. However at that time, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Steven Means were all under contract, and we’d even added Micheal Bennett.
As I said in RE-ARMING FOR WAR, the loss of Graham and Long, (Steven Means now plays in Atlanta), would leave us with Bennett, Barnett (returning from injury), and second year DE Josh Sweat. Sweat is also returning from injury, and he didn’t really flash before he got hurt.
So we need Long. We need him for character, depth, production and even tactically. Yeah, tactically. He understands the nuances of what his spot demands situationally, for this scheme. So if on a given down, he needs to freelance, he can do it without downgrading the integrity of the unit. You can’t get that from a new player. Even if that player is a ten year vet.
This is a phone call. This is that phone call that Reggie White and Brian Dawkins didn’t get from the Front Office. Not to put Long on that level, but the ease of resolving this situation is similar. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot if we don’t. This is easy. We need to get this done.
It’s a no-brainer.