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March 21, 2018

Eagles reportedly offered DE Chris Long more money – so why hasn't he signed yet?

Chris Long doesn't care about money, at least not in the way most people associate with professional athletes. Last season, Long famously played for free after donating all of his game checks to charity.

On the field, the Eagles' defensive end recorded five sacks during the regular season, forced the interception that turned the tide of the NFC Championship Game, and had a key role in bringing those now-famous underdog masks to Philly. 

In the end, Long was rewarded with a Super Bowl victory, his second in as many years after previously winning with the Patriots in 2017. 

And now, his current team is even willing to restructure his deal so Long can make (or perhaps donate) even more money this coming season. The offer would also reportedly extend his contract through the 2019 season.

So, if the Eagles are doing Long "a solid," why hasn't he signed yet? 

Again, it's not about the money. According to Mike Silver, the 10-year veteran is mulling over a "football decision."

With the Eagles' defense getting even better over the last few weeks, especially along the line with the addition of Michael Bennett, perhaps Long is worried about his role on the team going forward. 

That's interesting for a couple of reasons, the most obvious being that a bigger offer from the Birds would be indicative of a bigger role, not a reduced one. Furthermore, Bennett's arrival doesn't necessarily mean a huge reduction for Long, since the team also got rid of Vinny Curry. In essence, Bennett replaces Curry as the backup right defensive end and Long continues to back up Brandon Graham on the left side. 

Where Long would likely see fewer snaps, however, is on third down (and in obvious passing situations), since Bennett would likely replace him in the team's speed rush package that includes three DEs and just one DT, instead of the normal 2-2 split. 

Last year it was Long, Graham, Cox, and Barnett in the Birds' NASCAR package. This year, it'll likely be Bennett instead of Long. 

If that's the case, Long could ask to be released or traded, despite being offered more money and the extra year on his contract.

Or, perhaps, it's something else. After winning back-to-back Super Bowls, maybe the soon-to-be 33-year-old veteran is thinking about retirement.

It wouldn't be the first time he's considered calling it a career... 

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