Jay Ajayi will be missing the rest of the 2018 season with a torn ACL. Ajayi was already playing recent games with a broken back, so with the new injury keeping him on the sideline will allow his back to fully heal and be ready for more impact in 2019.
Even though this injury puts a damper on this season’s chances at possibly repeating as Super Bowl Champions, this could end up being a blessing in disguise for the Eagles in two different ways.
This Makes Things Easier for Eagles to Re-sign Ajayi
This was a contract year for Ajayi, which was a main reason why he returned after only missing one game with a broken back. He wanted to get as many touches as possible to put up big numbers in hopes of landing a long-term, big-money contract. The Eagles were not likely to sign Ajayi to a big-money contract this offseason, even if they wanted to. They are pressed for cap space next season, and will soon have to sign Carson Wentz to a mega-contract. Tie that with other players contracts ending this season (Nelson Agholor, Jordan Hicks, Brandon Graham, Ronald Darby, Jake Elliott), and it’s easy to believe that the Eagles would just move on from Ajayi with Corey Clement ready to become the team’s lead back.
This injury has done damage to Ajayi in more ways than one. Injuries have always been a big concern for Ajayi, and now this pretty much guarantees that no team will end up offering him a long-term contract with a lot of money guaranteed. This bodes well for Howie Roseman, because if he still likes Ajayi and wants him to be apart of the Eagles in 2019, he can now try to get him to sign a one year “prove it” deal for an average amount of money (like Jeremy Maclin did after he missed his contract year in 2013). The Eagles will still be contending for a Super Bowl next season, and the team was able to win their first championship with Ajayi as one of the team’s lead backs. They may want to go into 2019 with Ajayi and Clement as their two main options in the run game
This Makes Things Easier for Eagles to Move On From Ajayi
If Ajayi would have played the entire season and had a career-year, they would have had to think about possibly signing him to a long-term contract, and instead moving on from some of the other Eagles players who’s contract expires after this year. It’s long been mentioned that Ajayi has degenerative knees, and won’t be able to last much longer in the NFL. If the Eagles would have signed him to a long-term deal, it could have backfired as early as the 2019 season. If the Eagles don’t want to sign Ajayi to a one year “prove it” deal, they can just look to use one of their many draft picks they will have for the 2019 NFL Draft to bring in a new, young running back who is less injury-prone.
Ajayi’s season-ending injury is devastating for the 2018 Eagles, but at the end up the day his injury may have very well made things much easier for Howie Roseman to plan for the Eagles long-term future.