The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the best teams in identifying good, young offensive linemen and locking them up for the future, and on Thursday night, they made center Jamaal Jackson their next star of the future.
Jackson, 26, agreed on a creative five-year, $13 million contract extension that could grow to around $15 million depending on his playing time. Jackson will compete against Hank Fraley for the starting job at center, and because Fraley is in the final year of his contract, the competition will be interesting.
The Eagles have a long history of finding undrafted gems for their offensive line, and Jackson is one of them. He has eight starts since signing with the Eagles in 2003.
Contract negotiations have been ongoing for the past couple weeks. They came to a conclusion Thursday night when his agents, Peter Schaffer and John Rickart, found ways in which he could make as much as $3 million a year depending on his playing time and performance.
Jackson is a 6-foot-4, 330-pound blocker out of Delaware State who can add bulk to the offensive line at center or guard. The Eagles patiently waited for him to develop and brought him back in 2005. He signed with the practice squad and made the regular roster and had a chance to start.
Jackson was going to be an exclusive-rights player instead of a free agent even though he's been around the NFL for a couple of years.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.