Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith speaks openly after signing a $75 million contract extension that keeps him on the team through the 2028 season. After the deal was done, the star player spoke about what signing the extension means to him and what he is looking to accomplish heading into next season after a disappointing finish in 2024.

Last season with the Eagles, Smith caught 81 passes for 1,066 yards to go along with seven touchdowns, averaging 13.2 yards per reception. The University of Alabama product spoke about how much it means to him in staying with Philadelphia, the team that drafted him with the 10th overall pick in 2021 according to Chris McPherson of the team's website.

“It means a lot to me. It means a lot to my family. All the long nights, early mornings that I've been putting in the work to get to where I am and to get to this point, it feels good to see that hard work paying off,” Smith said. “The journey is not over. It's just starting.”

Smith on the pressures playing for a team based in Philadelphia 

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) reacts after his touchdown catch against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Smith has been with the Eagles for three seasons now where his best came in 2022 where he caught 95 passes for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns. Being a part a Philadelphia team, there is always going to be lofty expectations, especially for the Eagles as they went to the Super Bowl in Smith's best year, but would eventually lose to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I understand expectations are high in the city,” Smith said. “The fans, they expect a lot of you and when you're not playing up to it, they let you know, and me being the person I am, nobody is harder on me than myself. So, nothing that fans say or things like that can actually get to me. I mean, I embrace it. I embrace it because it just shows that the fans love it. They live and breathe Philly. I mean, not only us, but basketball, baseball, everything. They love it. You want to be in a city like that and I always say I don't think there's a better sports city than Philadelphia.”

Smith believes he hasn't reached his peak with the Eagles

There is one thing in playing well to earn a big contract extension that he got, it is another to validate the deal and perform at a high level which is something he looks to do as Smith continues to strengthen the rapport with Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Smith would say via the team's website that he does not believe in the notion that a player has “reached your peak,” but thinks more so in his position that he will “continue to get better.”

“You can always get better,” Smith said per McPherson. “There's no such thing as you've reached your peak. You're gonna continue to get better. You can always get better. So, as I continue to go along with my offseason, continue to look at myself and the things I've done and the things I need to get better at, we'll keep doing it.”

Smith talks about playing alongside A.J. Brown

One of the many reasons why the Eagles are so dangerous on offense besides Hurts and Smith is that they have another stellar wide receiver in A.J. Brown. They are certainly one of the best one-two punches in the league alongside many others like the Miami Dolphins who have Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Besides the talent level being off the charts, the team finds a way for both exceptional wide outs to succeed while sharing the targets like Brown and Smith have been doing since the tandem teamed up when the former was traded from the Tennessee Titans. Smith said that he has “grown very close” to Brown and mentioned how they have “similar stories.”

“I've grown very close to (A.J.), it means a lot to be able to go out there knowing guys who have similar stories, guys who have the same passion, the dedication that we have to this game, it means a lot to just go out here and be able to continue to do it alongside of him and everyone else in this building,” Smith said.

The star receiver's thoughts on the Eagles having two “alphas”

An interesting facet of the story that Smith shoots down is that with both receivers, one has to be the top guy while the other is the complimentary piece. Smith thinks that could not be more wrong as he said “you have two guys who want to be alpha” and emphasized how he feels “like that's a good thing.”

“Everybody wants to spin it this way, in that way, but you have two guys who want to be the alpha. And I feel like that's a good thing. You got two guys that are happy for each other. I mean, A.J., we talk every day. We call each other every day. We make sure that we talk on the phone every day, whether it's football, life, last night we had the kids on the phone talking, you know, babies just sitting there doing the baby talk.”

Last season, Brown caught 106 passes for 1,456 yards to go along with seven touchdowns as he averaged 13.7 yards per catch.

If there is one thing Smith, Brown, and others a part of the Eagles organization can admit, last season was a disappointment after making it to the Super Bowl the year prior. This past year, Philadelphia finished 11-6 which was second in the NFC East to the Dallas Cowboys and was eliminated in the wild card round to Baker Mayfield and the Philadelphia Eagles.

The division still looks to be a two-team race next season with the Cowboys keeping their team in tact for the most part as well as the Eagles. For the New York Giants, they seem to be on a downward trend until proven otherwise and the Washington Commanders look to be rebuilding. The fall 0f 2024 could start a major bounce back season for Philadelphia.