Jordan Mailata, who started playing football in 2018, signs $64M extension with Eagles

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The Philadelphia Eagles rewarded one of their biggest developmental wins in recent memory with a $64 million contract. Left tackle Jordan Mailata — who started playing organized football in 2018 — reportedly agreed to a four-year, $64 million deal with the team Saturday, according to Sirius XM's Adam Caplan.

Mailata will receive $40 million guaranteed, and can earn up to $80 million based on whether he hits certain incentives. 

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It's tough to overstate how unlikely the deal would have sounded in 2018. Mailata grew up in Australia and played rugby most of his life. He eventually captured the eyes of NFL scouts, and went to the league's international player program in 2018. Mailata didn't have any football experience or knowledge at that point in his career, and told evaluators he wanted to play left tackle because he saw the movie "The Blind Side."

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Mailata's new contract proves he made the right decision, though his moves on a rugby pitch were impressive, especially for a man of his size.

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Mailata wasn't highly rated heading into the 2018 NFL draft and was selected by the Eagles in the seventh round. Despite his lack of experience, Mailata made the Eagles in both 2018 and 2019, but did not see any time in regular season games. Both of those seasons were cut short by injuries.

Mailata finally made his NFL debut in 2020, and worked his way into a starting role with the team. Mailata started 10 games in 2020 before a concussion ended his season.

Jordan Mailata will protect Jalen Hurts' blindside in 2021

Watching "The Blind Side" also proved to be a good decision for Mailata. He'll open the 2021 NFL season as the team's starter, where he'll be responsible for protecting Jalen Hurts' blindside from opposing rushers. 

It's a crucial season for Hurts, who will look to prove he can be the team's quarterback of the future. Hurts made four starts for the team last season, with mixed results. Hurts taking a major step forward would go a long way toward the Eagles getting to the postseason. 

Locking up Mailata doesn't guarantee Hurts will succeed, but it doesn't hurt to have a left tackle who can lock down defenders regularly.  

Jordan Mailata with the Eagles.
Jordan Mailata started playing football in 2018. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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