Free agency starts on March 1st for the Philadelphia Eagles, and I believe with their overall healthy roster situation due to having one of the youngest teams in the NFL, as well as a very manageable number of free agents this year, the Eagles will look to extend some of their upcoming 2015 free agents. The Eagles salary cap for 2014 also looks good as they will carry over roughly $16 million in space from the 2013 season, and look to be an estimated $6 million under for next year, giving the club just over $20 million in available room to sign free agents and rookies.
Given the cap, the roster age, and low number of pending free agents, the Eagles player who I think gets the next big contract is offensive tackle Jason Peters.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 340-pound offensive tackle is a player with obvious talent. Peters’ storied career continued on this year with his sixth Pro Bowl selection (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013) and his fifth All-Pro award (2 first team 2011, 2013 – 3 second team 2007, 2008, 2010). Three of those Pro Bowls were with the Eagles since the team acquired him for a first-round pick and change from the Buffalo Bills.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that running back LeSean McCoy had his breakout season in 2011 when Peters arrived on the scene and mauled any would-be McCoy tacklers. The big native Texan remains one of the league’s best tackles as he bounced back from a ruptured Achilles tendon in the offseason having never played a down in 2012. It was an impressive comeback and Peters was clearly the best offensive lineman for the Eagles, and was crucial in protecting the blind side of young quarterback Nick Foles.
The only challenge the Eagles may have in extending him is that he is 32, so there may be some hesitance by Philadelphia to extend a player in his 30’s. I think the Eagles must consider an offensive tackle as a high draft choice in this year’s draft, but I also think Peters still has something left in the tank.
Peters proved to head coach Chip Kelly this season that his 2012 off year was due to his injury, and that his play is still elite. If the Eagles choose to reward Jason Peters with the next big contract, it would be a worthwhile investment.
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