Do you remember when former NRL prospect Jordan Mailata decided to try his luck in the NFL? Because he's on track for an enormous payday.
Mailata, now 24, played rugby league for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldog's SG Ball team and was signed to play for the South Sydney Rabbitoh's under-20's team in 2017. The 6'8 former prop decided to forego his likely future as an NRL player and instead join the NFL's International Player Pathway Program.
At the time, Mailata had no experience playing gridiron or even having had picked up a 'pigskin'. The big man's work ethic, size and obvious potential earned him a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles roster, who selected him 233rd overall in the 2018 draft to play offensive tackle.
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Signing a four-year rookie contract for $2.5 million in 2018, Mailata had to wait two years to make his debut in the NFL. The tackle slotted in to make his first appearance in the top grade against the Washington Football Team after one of the starting tackles went down with an injury.
It was today announced by head coach of the Eagles, Nick Sirianni, that Mailata had not only made the team's 53-man playing roster but will be the starting left tackle, protecting the blind-side of young quarterback Jalen Hurts.
“Jordan will be our starter,” Sirianni said on Tuesday.
“Jordan had a great camp, Andre had a great camp. Andre missed some time and during that time, the chemistry with the offensive line was able to build.
”It’s a good problem for us to have. We have two left tackles that can really play and can start.
“Jordan did a good job winning that position, but I don’t want to short Andre at all. When he was in, he played really well. He played a phenomenal last pre-season game. I thought that was also the case in the Jets practices as well.
“You don’t just say, ‘Hey, here’s one game and here’s a splash game’ and we’re just doing everything based off of that. The whole body of work’s in play. I’m sure glad we have both those guys on this roster.”
Playing one of the most important, and well-componsated positions in the NFL, Mailata is set to make big money if he can impress during his maiden first string season.
Every NFL team is looking to lock down the left tackle position and are prepared to pay for it. The top three paid at his position will all earn over $20 million in 2021.
Mailata has a lot to prove, and just because he's been awarded the starting spot doesn't mean he'll keep it. If the 24-year-old can impress, however, look for him to earn upwards of $60-$70 million in his next deal.
Mailata is one of seven Australians in the NFL this season, including former AFL player Arryn Siposs, who was also just announced as the starting punter for the Eagles.