The longest-tenured player for the reigning Super Bowl champions is probably not your first guess.
Tight end Brent Celek has been No. 87 for the Eagles for the last 11 seasons, spending his entire career with Philadelphia.
Brent Celek said that he has no plans to retire. "Yeah I wanna play," the Eagles TE said via text message, confirming a @caplannfl report.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) March 6, 2018
Celek has become one of the best backup tight ends in the league recently, complimenting blossoming star Zach Ertz perfectly. The tight end is entering the final year on a three-year, $13 million contract and is set to make $4 million in 2018.
However, Celek has received competition from Trey Burton for the TE2 spot over the last two years. Burton was also the hero of the Super Bowl, throwing the touchdown pass to Nick Foles on the now famous 'Philly Special.'
With the #Eagles stocked at TE and dealing with cap considerations, free agent Trey Burton is expected to leave Philly. He had 16 teams check in on his status this week, and he’ll have a strong market.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 3, 2018
Burton is set to be a free agent this offseason, and has no reason to re-sign with the Eagles as long as Celek is still there. If the Eagles were to cut Celek, they would be able to re-sign Burton to roughly the same price Celek would have cost them.
Cutting veterans such as Celek is never easy, though, as emotions and appreciation often can muddy the waters. A solution to this would be restructuring Celek's contract, keeping him on the team.
With Lions' starter Eric Ebron making $3 million this year, Celek cannot justifiably be given $4 million in 2018 after just 130 receiving yards and one touchdown this past year. Celek has taken a pay cut before, but the odds of him taking another one remain unknown.
Whatever the Eagles do with Celek, the team cannot afford to do nothing. Action must be taken by GM Howie Roseman.