With contract restructuring (Brandon Graham, Darius Slay, Lane Johnson), expected cuts (DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey), and not tendering players (Cam Johnston) in full force for this Eagles team in salary cap misery, there are still many decisions to be made this offseason. One easy decision is regarding our beloved Body Guard, Jason Peters. Coming out this week as saying he “still got some in the tank”, I hope the Eagles are driving an electric car. The birds (and Peters frankly) already tanked enough last year where they don’t need to test his tank any longer. Another tough breakup for a fan favorite player this offseason, but last year should have been that time.
Capitalizing off a rocky relationship between the Buffalo Bills and Peters, the Eagles traded for and signed Peters to a six-year, $60 million deal in 2009. In five years with Buffalo, Peters had proved himself to be an anchor on the left side of the offensive line after going undrafted in the 2004 NFL Draft. A little fun fact that I, admittedly, did not know previously is Peters was second-team All-SEC as a TIGHT END and started his NFL career as a wedge buster on special teams and a blocking tight end. Going from undrafted blocking tight end to future Hall of Famer is quite the legacy, on top of being known around the league as The Body Guard. And for good reasoning too.
Amassing six pro bowls, two first-team all-pro honors, two second-team all-pro honors, and being named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade team over 11 years in Philadelphia, it’s hard to imagine a time without Peters being an integral part of the offense…. unless you watched last season. Yikes. Father time caught up with Peters from an injury standpoint, in addition to overall playing abilities. Which is a little ironic, as Peters was brought back once Brandon Brooks went down with an Achilles injury, but then moved to tackle with injuries to Lane Johnson and Andre Dillard. To be fair, the offensive line saw a different starting lineup almost every single game, so chemistry and consistent play was tough to come by. However, requesting more money to move to tackle, only to play questionably while being put on injured reserve twice during one season is a tough look.
Although a down-trending Peters is fresh on our brain, his contributions to Eagles football over the last decade goes underappreciated. I also believe his season ending injury on the fateful Monday Night Football game against the Washington Football Team during the Super Bowl season helped unite the team to finish strong. It’s easy to be down and out when a fairytale season is ended in injury, but to be coaching up Halapoulivaati Vaitai, your replacement, as you are being carted off with a torn ACL and MCL speaks to the kind of glue guy and leader Peters was. During Super Bowl week, being quoted as saying, “It doesn’t change anything. I prepare like I am playing. I’m just playing through my guys.”
(Bill Streicher/USA TODAYS Sport
Potentially back (Carson Wentz) to back (Zach Ertz) to back (now Peters) hard break ups within the Eagles organization for one offseason, but Peters had become a liability this year, so now is the time to rip the band-aid off. The Body Guard will always hold a special place in my heart for protecting our quarterbacks’ blindside year in, year out. Forever a legend in Philadelphia and a no-question future hall of famer.
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