Continuity at heart: What does Jason Peters’ extension mean for the Eagles?

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Ask and thou shalt receive. Just one day after expressing his desire for a new contract that secures his future, the Eagles announced that they had signed veteran tackle Jason Peters to a one-year extension.

The obviously has some knock-on effects throughout the franchise…so here’s what Peters’ new deal means for the Birds.

 

Cap space:
The reason behind the extension was that Peters wanted more guaranteed money, cementing the Eagles investment in his future and removing the concern that he could become a cap casualty. But with such little cap space at their disposal, the deal HAD to benefit both sides. That’s exactly what Howie Roseman has pulled off, with the Eagles guaranteeing $15.5M of the $32.5M base salary. It’s not yet known how that will impact the cap space, but it’s more than likely that the deal will be structured in the same vein as the likes of Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson. Short cap hits for the immediate future, while the guarantees increase along with the amount of leverage that the Birds have over time.

 

Continuity:
Peters played in every single game of the 2016 campaign and was vital in the development of Carson Wentz. With rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai being the heir to one of the Tackle thrones, Peters had plenty of ammunition knowing that if the Eagles wanted sustainability, he was easily their best option. Many predicted a down-year for Peters, but it was clear that even at 34, he was among the elite tackles in the NFL, earning yet another (ninth) pro-bowl nod.

Vaitai may not be ready to become a consistent starting tackle for the Eagles, and having Peters on the cards with guaranteed money means two things.

1) The left side of the field will be anchored down for the foreseeable future by a veteran who is as prominent in run blocking as he ever has been.

2) That 2-3 year cushion that the Eagles now have, gives them time to either develop another heir to a vacant tackle throne, or draft one highly. Building from the ball out has been the philosophy since Roseman was bought back to power, and it’s clinical to developing Carson Wentz. Optionality is on their side, and the attitude of Peters that sees him constantly mentoring the younger players will be just as valuable to his play itself.

 

What about the prove-it deals?
Well, this is where things get interesting. The Eagles COULD have cut Peters to save around $9M in cap space. The team now only have an estimated $3M remaining, with the likes of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount Patrick Robinson and Chris Long all potentially wanting to cement their future. Then of course there’s Jordan Matthews who is entering his final contracted year with the team. The Eagles haven’t been hasty in looking to retain the services of their leading wide receiver, and with even less cap space at their disposal, there’s little to be shared around.

Meanwhile, Brandon Graham could also be one of the few to lose out. Not only did the Eagles pay big money for Vinny Curry who later underperformed, but they drafted Derek Barnett in the first round. Although he’s two years into his contract, an extension with at least an incentive of reward for production as one of the Eagles top talents last year would surely have been appreciated. He could be waiting even longer for that moment and even though it’s not an immediate need, the chances of it happening have done nothing but drop this offseason.

 

When the timing’s right:
This deal very much reminds me of the one they handed to Brent Celek. With the emergence of Zach Ertz and growing role of Trey Burton, Celek endured career lows under Doug Pederson last year. But the extension given to him not only ensures he retires an Eagle, but remains in their plans until such a time as the two no longer fit or one side decides to call it a day. The same can be said for Peters, whose form has been nothing short of HOF worthy since arriving in Philly back in 2009. It’s a move that rewards loyalty, while making sure the players best interests are at heart. The Eagles did the exact same thing for Darren Sproles. If the player simply decides their time is up, the Eagles can get out of the contract without much in the way of dead-cap space, while if the form continues and players shine, it’s a worthy investment. This is just another strong move by Howie and company.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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