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February 23, 2023

Eagles stay or go: Guard and center

Eagles NFL
offensive_line_kelce_seumalo_Eagles_49ers_Frese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

The Eagles may have to replace Jason Kelce and/or Isaac Seumalo.

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles' 2022 season is over (a little later than usual), we'll be taking a position-by-position look at which players will likely be back with the team in 2023, and which ones likely won't. Today we'll look at the interior offensive line.

Regarding the polls below, they are your votes on what you think the Eagles should do, not necessarily what you think they will do. Please think of them more as approval polls for each player.

Previous stay or go articles
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Offensive tackle

Jason Kelce

As has become his custom the last few offseasons, Kelce will soon decide whether he will continue to play, or if the Eagles' heartbreaking loss to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl was his last game.

"I mean, it can be," he said postgame after loss. "It could be. It could have been the end for a couple years now."

Last offseason Nick Sirianni sent Kelce a keg of beer as a way to try to convince him to come back for his twelfth NFL season. Kelce accepted, and led the league' best offensive line while earning his fifth first-team All-Pro nod along the way. Performance and the desire to go through the rigors of an NFL season will be the key factors in Kelce's decision. 

"You try and weigh whether you think, one, you can still do it at a high level, and two, whether you want to do it," he said. "I think that's the big thing. It's a grind. I know that I could still probably come back and perform at a high level or a good level."

Interestingly, while Kelce is still widely regarded as the best center in the NFL and arguably playing the best football of his career, he believes that his performance is in decline.

"It's getting harder every year," he said. "I'm nowhere near the player I used to be. Jalen Hurts makes all of us look a lot better and makes my job a lot easier. It's only going to go [downhill], and whether you can be accountable to your teammates and perform at that level and mentally you have the energy to be the difference maker that I feel I am in that regard, all that stuff will factor in."

Kelce's contract will effectively void on June 3, so if he is to return, he'll have to agree to a new deal with the front office.

#JimmyVerdict: Kelce remains the best center in the world, and I would imagine that when you're the best in the world at something it's kind of hard to give that up. He also made it through the 2022 season without any injuries that caused him to miss time, so there's a reasonable enough bet that his body should feel OK by the time he makes his decision. 

This is purely a guess (no inside info here), but my bet is that he genuinely believes in Hurts and comes back for a chance to play with him another season. Stay.

Eagles stay or go: Jason Kelce

Landon Dickerson

Dickerson made his first Pro Bowl in 2022, starting every game for the Eagles, though occasionally coming out of some of them. The book on Dickerson early in his career is that he is a mauler in the run game, but can struggle in pass protection against quicker interior linemen. I'm not so sure I saw a lot of the latter in 2022, as he was above average in pass pro, in my opinion.

One thing Dickerson will have to clean up is his penalty count, as he led the team with 14 of them (7 for holding, 4 false starts, 3 ineligible man downfield), but he has proven to be a good player through his first two seasons, and should only get better.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay, obviously.

Eagles stay or go: Landon Dickerson

Isaac Seumalo

Seumalo quietly stacked together a pair of very good seasons for the Eagles in 2021 and 2022, and will be hitting the free agent market in his prime. He will be entering his eighth season in the NFL in 2023, and offers the versatility to play either guard position, as well as center. He has also been called upon to play both tackle spots in a pinch during his career in Philly.

With so many teams desperate for quality offensive line starters, Seumalo is likely to get plenty of attention on the open market. If I'm Seumalo's representation, I'm looking at the three-year, $40-million deal signed by Laken Tomlinson with the Jets last offseason, and I'd be seeking more. This may sound nuts, but I'll guess he lands a deal in the ballpark of $14 million per season.

#JimmyVerdict: The cap-strapped Eagles would of course love to keep Seumalo, but it feels a lot like they will conclude that letting him go at anything near my projected cost will be the tough but correct decision. Go.

Eagles stay or go: Isaac Seumalo

Cam Jurgens

During a preseason game against the Jets, it looked a lot like Kelce changed his jersey number to 51 for the night, as Jurgens had a slew of highlight reel blocks using his athleticism out in space reminiscent of his mentor.

If Kelce retires, Jurgens will be the Eagles' new starting center. If Kelce decides to play in 2023 and Seumalo leaves in free agency as expected, then Jurgens will likely start at RG. (It's worth noting that the Eagles list him as "G/C" on their website.)

My belief is that Jurgens is going to be a very good player, and success might even come quickly for him, unlike Seumalo, who had bumps in the road early in his career.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay (duh).

Eagles stay or go: Cam Jurgens

Sua Opeta

Opeta began the 2022 season as the first lineman off the bench at both LG and RG, but he fell down the depth chart after some struggles, and eventually ended up on the practice squad to close the season.

After the season ended, Opeta signed a one-year deal worth $1.4 million, per his OverTheCap page

#JimmyVerdict: With Seumalo likely to leave in free agency, Kelce not a guarantee to return in 2023, and Josh Sills indicted on rape and kidnapping charges, the Eagles are going to need depth players. Stay.

Eagles stay or go: Sua Opeta

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