Jason Peters is going to be a Hall of Famer when he eventually retires. An undrafted free agent out of Arkansas, Peters was originally a tight end out of college. His move to Right Tackle, and eventually Left Tackle, would make him one of the more athletic offensive linemen in the league. Nine Pro Bowls, two First-Team All-Pro selections followed Peters as he was traded to Philadelphia in 2009 for a first and fourth-round pick.
Since coming to Philadelphia, Peters has been a model for consistency and dominance, anchoring the Eagles line, and protecting some of the teams’ most fabled signal-callers like McNabb, Vick, Foles and Wentz.
Yet, as in life itself, Peters is now 38-years-old and is about to be a free agent in the coming offseason. Peters told reporters earlier this year of his intentions to keep the wheels churning.
“I told ’em I wanted to play another year. I still can get it done…If I couldn’t get it done, I’d just walk away, but I can still go.”
Now the question turns to Howie Roseman and the Eagles front office. They’ve drafted his eventual replacement in Andre Dillard last year, spending a first-round pick and trading up a few spots to do so. What are they going to do with the future Hall of Famer in Jason Peters? There are three different options.
The easiest choice to make is simple: let the 38-year old walk. Andre Dillard showed promise when he was put in to replace Peters last year but struggled when he was forced into a completely different position. Regardless, Dillard is a first-round pick. He has had a year of Peters’ tutelage under his built and should be ready to be the blindside protector of Carson Wentz for years to come.
Peters had a high grade per Pro Football Focus but has dealt with nagging injuries for the last few years and the penalty setbacks became a little too heavy this past season. The first argument is to cut dead-weight and let Peters make the decision on where he wants to play.
Move him inside
This scenario comes with some tricky roster reconstruction. This past offseason, the Eagles signed Isaac Seumalo to a three-year contract extension that pretty much made the 25-year old the team’s starting Left Guard. If Peters were to choose to come back, and the Eagles were to move him to LG, that means that either Seumalo would get benched OR that would mean another scenario: Jason Kelce doesn’t return for next year.
Kelce has been debating retirement over the last couple of years. If he chooses to step away, moving Peters to Guard and Seumalo to Center would make sense. The issue would be if Kelce doesn’t retire. Would the Eagles be comfortable benching a lineman who is paid five million per year? This scenario seems unlikely, but still, if the Eagles want Peters back, they just might need him to move to a different position.
Stick to the Status Quo
Howie Roseman said earlier this offseason that he knew the team needed to get younger. So what if Roseman changes his mind and decides to bring one of the older players on the roster back. Peters would demand to start over Andre Dillard. Thus, if the Eagles bring Peters back, and Kelce doesn’t retire, it means the LT spot is being set by ‘The Bodyguard’ himself. That would mean the Eagles have paid a 39-year old offensive lineman starter money, in the hopes that he not only stays healthy but continues to play at a high level. This would also mean that Dillard does not get his chance to start after a year of sitting on the bench. Will the Eagles be able to sell the fanbase on a move like this after telling the city they want to get younger and faster?
Howie Roseman has a lot of decisions to make this off-season that will define the Eagles roster for years to come. One of the first cases of this is what they will do with Jason Peters. Does he stay? Or go? Do the Eagles take a chance to bring a 39-year old back on a one-year deal? Or is it time for the Eagles to make the transition to a younger generation of offensive talent? Only time will tell as the off-season rolls around, and while Peters is a Hall-of-Fame player, it may just be time to say goodbye.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Faria is currently a Marketing Coordinator for ESPN in Bristol, CT. A graduate from Hofstra University in New York, he is a two-time Associated Press Award winning reporter with experience in all four major sports in America. On top of his experience as a reporter and writer. Nick was born in Rhode Island but has a strong background around the Philadelphia Eagles, and other teams in the city of brotherly love. Nick is excited to take the next step in his professional career with Philly Sports Network!