As the 2017 offseason kicks off the Philadelphia Eagles are faced with many questions. Amongst those that need to be answered is “What will the Eagles do up front?”. Howie Roseman has spoken of his desire to build from the ball out, meaning he would love to solidify the Eagles trenches. Of all the uncertainty that has been brought about this early off-season, maybe the one rumor that carries the most weight for the Eagles is the reported approach to Jason Peters regarding a possible pay-cut.
The 13 year veteran has been a staple on the offense since arriving in 2009 via trade (from the Buffalo Bills). Since his first game in midnight green, Peters has served as the Eagles best and most consistent O-lineman, being chosen for multiple pro-bowls, and being named an all-pro 3-times (6-times total).
After going Undrafted in 2004 from the University of Arkansas, Jason Peters has been nothing short of amazing. Starting 159 of 169 games played, he has been the standard on the blind side and is most certainly looking at a hall-of-fame induction.
Despite his skill set, justifying the $11M cap hit he carries can be difficult. The Eagles invested heavily in Peters, but at 35-years old, should the Eagles be looking to jump the Gun? Especially since the team are appearing to rebuild with youth around Wentz. So with that, We decided to look at a few Pro and cons, of keeping the 35-year old around another season or two.
He’s coming off of a much improved 2016 campaign
After the 2015 season, one that was riddled with injuries, many thought the end of Peters’ career to be nearing. With his propensity for false starts, the veteran had seemed to have lost a step. So coming into the 2016 season, the bar was low as the curtains seemed to be closing. What nobody expected was Peters to come out of the gate and play at a pro-bowl level, which was exactly what he did. Last season, Peters was one of the Eagles most consistent players, keeping rookie QB Carson Wentz clean, and serving as a leader to the younger guys on the line. He was very productive in both the pass and the run and the penalties lessened, which is the main reason Doug Pederson wants the Veteran back.
Despite Peters playing at the level he did, he still struggled with injuries as he has done so for the last few seasons. He didn’t miss a lot of action this time around, but there were plenty of occasions in which we would see him limping off the field. Peters is obviously a player who puts himself completely into the game, but you have to wonder how much of his issue is down to the demanding style of play or his age. Its’ probably somewhere in between, he does play a position where he is literally banging into a 300 lbs man every play. Either or, it is a real concern that your All-Pro Tackle is limping off the field so much.
When the Eagles had their starting five, they were a pretty tough offense and really good up-front. The combination of players were quietly one of the better front lines in the league. There will be some changes made this season and after some developmental seasons from Vaitai and Seumalo, the line is more flexible than ever. As we all know, the Eagles could be looking to move some players either to open cap space and going into the season with so many changes could prove detrimental to Wentz. Plus, the idea of Peters, Seumalo, Kelce, Brooks and Johnson as the starting five up front could be very intriguing to the Eagles front office, as they have the potential to be a top-5 unit..as well as run with the same stability Wentz grew comfortable in during the 2016 season.
Father time is undefeated
At 35 years old, the Eagles would not be faulted for thinking of moving on. We cited his injury issue earlier and the impact of that is only going to be more damaging as time goes on. The good news for the Eagles is a Jason Peters at 85%, is still better than most left tackles at a 100%..but can he continue to sustain the level of play achieved in 2016?
Peters has been amazing in his career and if he played out his contract and retired as an Eagle, it would only be a fitting end to such a stunning journey. But the Eagles are building for the future..and with such a heavy cap hit it’s easy to see why the team approached Peters about a potential pay-cut. The question for the Eagles becomes is he worth the impending cap hit if he does decide against losing some of his paycheck..and if he is, for how long? You can make solid arguments for both sides..and this is easily one of Roseman’s trickier decisions during his tenure.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports