It was unclear whether the Eagles were willing to cut Jenkins - one of the few "Dream Team" free-agent signings from last summer to live up to expectations and one who became a locker-room leader - but he said he knew at the end of the season that his contract would have to be reworked if he wanted to return.
"I'm actually pretty relieved, because I was worried sitting there playing a waiting game," Jenkins said. "You're hearing all the rumors about people saying, 'They're going to release him and they're not going to pay him.' "
Jenkins still will receive a $5 million roster bonus due March 13 - the official start of the new league year. But his base salary for 2012 was reduced from $2,500,000 to $820,000, according to an NFL source.
The original five-year deal he signed last July also was trimmed to four years.
Jenkins called the deal more "realistic," however, and said it gave him the opportunity to retire as an Eagle.
"I'm not one of those types of players that bounce around, try to get as much as he can get," Jenkins said. "I wanted some security. I wanted to be somewhere that I liked and that liked me."
Playing on coach Jim Washburn's pass-rush-oriented defensive line, Jenkins recorded four sacks in his first three games last season.
Jenkins often was the voice of reason emanating from the locker room after the team's - especially the defense's - sluggish start.
The new deal will give the Eagles $1.68 million in additional cap space. Jenkins was asked whether he thought his new deal would allow the Eagles to sign some of their free agents, namely wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
"Definitely," Jenkins said. "If by me doing this it can help the team in any way, that's something that you have to feel good about."
The Eagles have two defensive tackles - Derek Landri and Trevor Laws - who will become unrestricted free agents March 13. They tried to work out an extension with Laws last year, league sources said, but ultimately decided to put off in-season contract talks with any of their free agents. Landri could have other suitors.
Antonio Dixon, who suffered a season-ending torn triceps last October, is a restricted free agent. The Eagles are likely to tender Dixon, who is expected to be ready for spring practices.
Jenkins' co-starter in the middle, Mike Patterson, underwent brain surgery last month to correct an arteriovenous malformation, but Eagles coach Andy Reid said recently that the defensive tackle is expected to be healthy by the start of training camp.
Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745, email@example.com, or @Jeff_McLane on Twitter.