Two days after the Super Bowl, with indicators already pointing to Jason Kelce’s return, Cam Jurgens was requested how he would mentally deal with one other season of not beginning at middle.
“I’ll be fine no matter what happens,” Jurgens mentioned final month throughout locker clear out day at NovaCare Complex. “If I got to learn under [Kelce] for another year, or play alongside him for another year, I’m going to be OK either way.”
Kelce made it official on Monday: He introduced that he might be again for a thirteenth season. But his blocking of Jurgens at middle doesn’t should be an both/or situation. The second-year offensive lineman can each mentor below Kelce and play subsequent to him as Isaac Seumalo’s alternative at proper guard.
Seumalo, slated to change into a free agent on Wednesday, had but to comply with phrases with one other group as of Monday night time, however Kelce’s return together with the guard’s anticipated market worth all however assure his departure.
» READ MORE: Jason Kelce places off retirement, says he’ll return to Eagles for thirteenth season
He drifted below the radar for numerous causes, however Seumalo had perhaps his finest season in 2022 and easily transferring Jurgens into his spot doesn’t imply he’ll be as productive. The emptiness does, nevertheless, permit the Eagles to lastly take the coaching wheels off their second-round draft choose.
The promotion gained’t come at his projected place, however with wage cap constraints forthcoming with quarterback Jalen Hurts’ anticipated contract extension and the funding common supervisor Howie Roseman made within the Nebraska product, Jurgens is not a luxurious the Eagles can hold in bubble wrap.
Embracing Kelce’s return as Roseman did — he gulped a shot of mezcal with the middle when advised on the NFL mix almost two weeks in the past — was a no brainer. The future Hall of Famer not solely stays on the peak of his career, but additionally the management and coach-like acumen he brings to the Eagles is immeasurable.
But the settlement reached Monday will value someplace within the $14 million vary subsequent season and it’ll delay Jurgens’ ascent. If he can transition into enjoying guard with out there being a serious downgrade, then the choice to pick out him with out there being an instantaneous want gained’t look as unhealthy.
If Jurgens struggles to the purpose of getting to be benched — and it’s not like there’s by no means been precedent on this regard (see: Seumalo, 2017) — then it may very well be three seasons earlier than he yields important payback.
He by no means performed guard previous to the NFL and lined up there for only one snap final season vs. the Bears. The 6-foot-3, 303-pound Jurgens additionally doesn’t have prototypical dimension for the place. He cross-trained at each spots throughout the common season, however every time left guard Landon Dickerson wanted a spell, it was Andre Dillard who bought the nod.
» READ MORE: Source: Eagles OT Andre Dillard agrees to $29 million contract with the Titans
Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland lamented not having coaching camp to work Jurgens out at guard — he was restricted to middle as Kelce recovered from elbow surgical procedure — but it surely was solely a minor setback.
The early returns on Jurgens at middle have been principally optimistic, although. While Kelce recovered from elbow surgical procedure, the rookie dealt with first-team duties via the preseason. He seemed in some methods like a clone of the freakishly athletic veteran.
Jurgens additionally bought a style of the common season and the postseason with 37 snaps at middle in mop-up obligation. Kelce hasn’t missed a begin in 149 straight video games, together with the playoffs, however Jurgens is seemingly prepared ought to the 35-year outdated lastly break down.
Kelce has benefitted from the Eagles’ shortening of practices and relaxation days the group’s coaching employees has advised for veterans. He got here closest to retiring following an exhaustive and injury-marred 2018 season, however has seemingly wanted much less time every year since to resolve upon his return.
The Eagles are coming off a Super Bowl run, Hurts presents the best optimism the group has had at quarterback in years, and coach Nick Sirianni has delivered a profitable offensive scheme and tradition — all causes Kelce has beforehand cited for an additional go-around.
He endorsed the Jurgens choose pre-draft — not that Roseman primarily based his resolution on a participant’s analysis — however Kelce doesn’t owe his eventual successor something. He tutored the rookie and was typically good cop to Stoutland’s unhealthy cop in positional conferences. The coach calls on all his costs, however Jurgens needed to hold his head on a swivel.
“I got it a lot,” he mentioned. “But it was a good year. If I need to know it in the future, why not now?”
» READ MORE: In Howie We Trust: Eagles enter free company led by Roseman, the NFL’s finest GM
His future at middle, although, will proceed to be on maintain. Jurgens has his first full offseason as a professional to extend his energy ought to he transfer to protect. Kelce may help towards larger inside linemen, however transferring from middle does provide a break from two of the requirements of the job.
“You don’t snap the ball at guard and you don’t have to make all the calls,” Jurgens mentioned. “But you’re still doing a lot of the same stuff. You’re still blocking a 300-pound man coming at you.
“And it’s a tough job.”
It appears all however his.