On Tuesday, Jay Ajayi was finally awarded an insurance settlement for the knee injury he suffered back in 2018.
Suffered in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 21-23 loss to Minnesota, Ajayi’s promising NFL run was stamped out before it could take a step forward, and he lost out on what could have been a long-term, eight-figure contract extension that his on -field play justified.
Now granted, few expected Ajayi to have an NFL career defined by longevity; the Boise State product slipped to the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft because of its extensive injury history, and his knees were once described as “bone on bone” by Adam Schefter.
Fortunately, Jay Ajayi planned ahead and took out an insurance policy on his knee worth $ 5 million tax-free, according to Ian Rapaport, and now, four years later, he can use that money to fully embrace the next phase of his life. But do you know what? I don’t want to talk about that or Ajayi’s ill-fated attempt at professional gaming for the matter, either. No, I want to talk about just how impactful his addition was on the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2017 season and how it quite literally helped to bring the City of Brotherly Love its first Lombardi Trophy.
Jay Ajayi gave the Philadelphia Eagles his all.
When the Philadelphia Eagles traded a conditional 2018 fourth-round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for Jay Ajayi, it felt too good to be true. One of the more promising young power backs in the league, Ajayi made it to the Pro Bowl in 2016 after a scorching 260 carry, 1,2702-yard second professional season, and it looked like he’d be a fixture of the Dolphins’ offense for years to come.
… Except that didn’t happen. Traded partially due to “contract reasons” and also because he reportedly didn’t buy into Adam Gase’s coaching philosophy of taking one’s work home with them, Ajayi was allowed to join an Eagles squad looking to bolster their already impressive offense with even more high- end, ascending talent and quickly hit the ground running, picking up 168 yards over his first two games in midnight green on his way to a 408-yard regular season run over just seven games.
Once Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending injury in Week 14 versus the Los Angeles Rams, the run game became even more important, with the Eagles maintaining a near-identical 29.7 rushing attempts per game in the postseason to their regular season output. Doug Pederson unleashed the RPO, which saw Ajayi take on a more expansive role as a pass-catcher, and rode the run all the way to the Super Bowl, where the Birds outdueled their previous Super Bowl opponents, the New England Patriots, to a 41-33 win.
The afterglow of that win, with Ajayi draped in a Union Jack flag with a “Super Bowl champion” shirt underneath, is how I like to remember the Boise State product’s run with the Eagles, not him limping off the field in Game 5 of the next season, or his odd run in 2019 wearing the number 28. Though it wasn’t a long time, it certainly was a good time, and even now, well over two years removed from playing his last NFL snap, I would imagine the 28-year-old London native probably feels the same way too.
When the Philadelphia Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi, it was with the intention of securing their long-term starting running back. They moved on from LeGarrette Blount when his contract expired in the hopes of giving Ajayi a bigger role and likely would have given him some sort of extension had he flirted with 1,000 yards in his first full season in midnight green. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be.