Jason Peters is back with the Eagles…as a guard?
The future Hall-of-Fame left tackle re-signed with the Eagles on Tuesday but was listed as a guard
Over the weekend, former NFL player and current NFL insider Brian Baldinger posted on Twitter that he was “hearing whispers” about the Eagles making a big move:
The speculation about what he was talking about immediately jumped to Jadeveon Clowney, Yannick Ngakoue, and Jamal Adams. To a lesser extent, the names Devonta Freeman, Larry Warford, Logan Ryan, and Everson Griffen were making the rounds, as well.
As it turns out, Baldinger, a former offensive lineman himself, was talking about Jason Peters. Peters re-signed with the Eagles on Tuesday:
BUT, you may have noticed that Peters, a future Hall-of-Fame left tackle, is listed as a guard in the announcement. So, what does this mean?
This move means a few things. Firstly, it means that Peters is being signed as the replacement at right guard for Brandon Brooks, who tore his Achilles earlier in the offseason. But it also means that the Eagles are going to let Andre Dillard start at left tackle, at least to start the season (more on that below).
While the Eagles awkwardly said goodbye to Peters in a public post during the NFL Combine, it always felt like the door was open for a return. And after Peters didn’t find a robust market in free agency, that door started blowing in the wind.
And now, Peters is back in midnight green for at least one more season. It isn’t immediately clear just how long Howie Roseman and Peters/his agent were working on this, but you can bet that the move to right guard probably took some convincing.
Here’s Why This Is A Good Move
I’ve been pretty critical of Jason Peters for the last couple of seasons. While he is still an above-average starting left tackle in the NFL, he has clearly declined. This is clear when you watch his tape, but he is still playing at a remarkable level for a guy who turned 38 years old over the winter.
I didn’t want the Eagles to bring him back because I think you have to find out what you have in Andre Dillard. You can’t just draft a left tackle in the first round and sit him on the bench for two years just because you are afraid of 1. Letting Peters go and 2. Letting Dillard sink or swim.
But bringing him back at guard? Sign me up for that. Here’s why.
By getting Peters to agree to come back as a guard, you are getting the best of both worlds. Heck, you’re getting the best of a few worlds. While Peters has been a tackle for more than a decade and a half, there’s no reason to think he can’t make the transition. And by letting him slide inside, he won’t be as prone to those false starts because he won’t have to kick back to try to prevent defensive ends from getting around the edge.
As for Andre Dillard
This also lets Andre Dillard stay at left tackle while keeping Peters in the building as a break-in-case-of-emergency option. Dillard plays LT, Peters plays RG, and if Dillard completely folds at LT, then Peters can slide out and Matt Pryor can play RG.
There is some concern that bringing Peters back puts unnecessary pressure on Dillard to perform since he’ll now have a future Hall-of-Famer looking over his shoulder. But you know what? Dillard was a first-round pick, and this is the NFL. If he performs like the Eagles are hoping, everyone will be happy to have both Dillard and Peters on the team.
If he doesn’t, then the Eagles know he’s probably a bust, can bandaid the position with Peters in 2020, and then address it again in 2021.
Oh, and imagine being an opposing defensive lineman or linebacker and seeing Jason Peters and Lane Johnson line up next to each other on the right side. Good luck slowing down Miles Sanders when he runs to the right side.
Originally published at The Birds Blitz on July 14, 2020.