Jason Peters Returns to Eagles, Moving Inside to Play Right Guard
You can never have enough depth in the trenches when it comes to football. Having capable pieces to step in and make an impact on the offensive and defensive lines if someone goes down with an injury is critical to the success of any team, especially at the NFL level. That may become even more prevalent this season, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to run wild through the United States. Sometimes that means bringing back older veterans that have a proven track record in order to provide continuity and leadership. It leads to the whole no stone unturned mentality when it comes to trying to fill voids.
That is what led nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters back to Philadelphia at the age of 38 after the team seemed poised to move on earlier this offseason. He signed a one-year deal worth $3 million: with bonuses, he could make as much as $6 million this season. However, Peters, who has been a fixture at left tackle for the past 11 years with the Eagles, won’t be returning to his old position in the City of Brotherly Love. The Eagles plan on moving him to right guard, taking over the role that was filled by Brandon Brooks, who was lost for the season with a torn Achilles that he suffered back in June, creating a void on the offensive line.
With Peters being signed and expected to slot into the interior of the Eagles’ offensive line, that means there will be a change at the left tackle spot as well. Andre Dillard, who was shaky in his four starts last season after being selected in the first round of the 2019 draft, will take over the starting role there and be tasked with protecting Carson Wentz’s blindside going forward.
As it stands, this is a sound move for the Eagles on multiple fronts. It keeps Peters in the mix where he can provide veteran leadership for the offensive line while maintaining some continuity up front. That can only help keep Wentz upright and open holes in the running game for Miles Sanders and company to exploit. It also gives the Eagles a backup plan should Dillard struggle when it comes to maintaining the blindside. Bringing him back should help offset the loss to Brooks, who had been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons.
While Peters isn’t as explosive or in the shape that he was in his prime, the fact remains that the move inside should be a good one for him. If anything, it might help him cut down on some of the penalties he had taken in recent years to try and deal with his declining speed and agility. Being on the inside is more about being able to hold your ground at the point of attack and maul people. That’s more of the style that Peters has to lean on right now. While he likely won’t make it back to a Pro Bowl level at this stage of the game, the Eagles could have done worse trying to patch the hole in their offensive line.
If Peters can do the job, the Eagles will be in contention again in the NFC East. Should he struggle or fail in his efforts to transition to the inside, it will be tough for the Eagles to find a capable second option.