The Eagles Should Probably Pay Jason Peters Whatever He Wants
The Philadelphia Eagles have been hit harder than most teams by the injury bug in the early days of training camp. Starting guard Brandon Brooks tore his ACL last month, and the Eagles brought back longtime standout left tackle Jason Peters to replace him. Then disaster struck again this week, as presumed starting left tackle and 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard tore a bicep and will be out for the whole season following surgery.
The one upside for Philadelphia is that they have a ready-made replacement to step in at tackle in Peters. But he isn't willing to just go ahead and do it. As Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Peters wants to be paid like a starting left tackle if he's to be a starting left tackle. Per McLane:
"But there’s an explanation other than the one Pederson gave about looking at some of the younger, more inexperienced options: Peters wants to be paid like a starting left tackle if he’s to assume the role for the 2020 season, NFL sources told The Inquirer. Peters, 38, signed a one-year, $3 million contract to play right guard last month after starter Brandon Brooks suffered an Achilles tendon injury in June. Guards make significantly less than tackles, especially on the left flank."
As noted in the excerpt, Peters signed a $3 million deal to play guard before Dillard went down. He's looking for a raise, and the Eagles don't really have any other options. They're going to have to pay the man whatever he likes.
Peters was an elite left tackle for a long time. At 38, he isn't a spring chicken by any means, but he still offers a higher baseline of play on the left side than anyone they could bring off the street and, in all likelihood, a better option than any other they have in-house right now. Doug Pederson, in talking about who could replace Dillard, named Peters alongside Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor, and Jack Driscoll. Mailata has no experience playing in a regular-season game, Driscoll is a rookie, and Pryor has started exactly one game in the NFL. Peters is their best bet, but what kind of raise is he looking for?
Right now, the going rate for a starting-caliber left tackle in the NFL is about $7 million to $10 million in terms of yearly salary. Peters doesn't belong in the conversation of the elite tackles in the game anymore, but he's certainly better than his $3 million salary, which would put him at No. 30 among all starting left tackles in the NFL. Something like $6 million per year seems about right, which puts him on par with Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But Peters could probably get more than that because he holds all the cards right now. Besides being a loyal member of the organization for over a decade and providing them with steady play for that entire time, Peters knows the Eagles don't really have other options. He was pretty good last year and "pretty good" is all any team could hope for after a starter at a position as important as LT goes down. Philly should get the checkbook ready, because Peters has the upper hand in this situation.