By Michael Donovan

The Eagles let All Pro safety Malcolm Jenkins walks away to the New Orleans Saints, just as they did in 2009 let legendary safety Brian Dawkins walk into free agency.

Dawk played three more years in Denver, making All Pro twice.

Then big boss Joe Banner has admitted he made a mistake in 2009.

How about this time?

“The hardest part of this job is that you have to make tough decisions, and you have to figure out where you’re going to do that,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said on a conference call with reporters.

“When you have people and players who have given the team so much and the city so much and me personally so much, these are hard things to do. But we’re trying to balance what we can do this year and what we can do going forward.”

The Eagles were willing to tweak his 2020 numbers but weren’t going to give Jenkins a contract extension that would add guaranteed money to future caps.

“As much as you want to show gratitude for past performance and loyalty, you also have to have one eye on the future,” Roseman said.

“It’s just the nature of where we are right now as a sport. You see it with Hall of Fame players leaving their teams. Quarterbacks. Tight ends. You see it. You can’t sign everyone.

“For us, we had to make some tough decisions. We had conversations with his representative. We understood what was important to him and what he was looking for. But we also were trying to balance that with what we were trying to do in the offseason.

“We’re in a position now with our team where we’re going to have to lose some guys.”

“While Malcolm hasn’t been hurt, they just know that as he gets older, the odds [of an injury] go up,” former Eagles president Joe Banner said. “Having a younger player, there obviously are exceptions to this, but a younger guy has a smaller chance of getting hurt.”

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