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December 20, 2016

Eagles stay or go: Offensive tackles

Eagles NFL
121916JasonPeters Stephen Brashear/AP

Give that man oxygen, or a masseuse, or supplements, or whatever he needs. I'm kidding about the supplements, Lane, in case you're reading this. To be clear, don't give him supplements.

The 2016 Philadelphia Eagles season is essentially over, so with two games remaining, we'll continue to look ahead to the offseason. As a starting point, let's take a look at each position and figure out which players will be back in 2017. Today we'll look at the offensive tackles.

In case you missed our previous positional previews:

Quarterbacks | Running backs | Wide receivers | Tight ends

Jason Peters

With so many holes on the roster, if Peters decides to play one more year, the Eagles could put off addressing the offensive tackle position for one more year. Peters and Lane Johnson would give the Eagles a high-quality bookend tandem and would allow Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Dillon Gordon to continue to develop behind the scenes.

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In 2017, Peters will count for $11,200,000 against the cap, $9,200,000 of which the Eagles would save if they cut or traded him.

There are some who believe Peters' money could be better used elsewhere. I disagree. At $9,575,000 per year, Peters is the 10th highest-paid OT in the NFL, on a per year basis:

Trent WilliamsRedskins$13,200,000
Terron ArmsteadSaints$13,000,000
Tyron SmithCowboys$12,200,000
David BakhtiariPackers$12,000,000
Eric FisherChiefs$12,000,000
Cordy GlennBills$12,000,000
Joe ThomasBrowns$11,500,000
Anthony CastonzoColts$10,953,000
Russell OkungBroncos$10,600,000
Nate SolderPatriots$10,031,000
Jason PetersEagles$9,575,000

One could make an argument that he's actually a bargain.

Peters has hinted that he will be back next season, and the Eagles would dodge a bullet if he returns.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict: 

Lane Johnson

Johnson is a high-quality player whose absence really affected the Eagles' offense this season. Yes, he's a risk because a third failed test for PEDs will result in a two-year ban. However, he's a talented offensive tackle, and those are hard to replace. Johnson very clearly isn't going anywhere.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict: 

Matt Tobin

Tobin is a decent enough backup left tackle, but he struggles when flipping to the other side, and was a bad starter at guard in the final season under Chip Kelly. Tobin is the kind of a player that you will always try to replace with younger talent. Ideally, for the Eagles, Dillon Gordon will be ready enough a season from now for a backup role instead of an inactive one.

#JimmyVerdict: Go.

Your verdict: 

Dillon Gordon

Gordon has stuck on the 53-man roster all season long but was not active on game day until this past Sunday against the Ravens in Baltimore. Gordon never played tackle in his life until this season, when the Eagles converted him from tight end, where he played at LSU. The Eagles will continue to develop Gordon, and as noted above, hope that he can at least fill a backup role in 2017.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict: 

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

In his first professional action, Vaitai received his "Welcome to the NFL" moment when he was manhandled by Ryan Kerrigan and the Washington Redskins defense. He continued to struggle (although not as badly) for a few more games before showing improvement until he sprained his MCL against the Seahawks.

Vaitai remains out, and the Eagles may not need him the rest of the way, but he is a potential starter at RT whenever Johnson takes over for Peters at LT.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict: 

#JimmyVerdict Stay or Go Results

Green = Stay

Red = Go

 QBCarson Wentz Chase Daniel    
 RBRyan Mathews Darren Sproles Wendell Smallwood Kenjon Barner  
 WRJordan Matthews Nelson Agholor Dorial Green-Beckham Bryce Treggs Paul Turner 
 TEZach Ertz Brent Celek Trey Burton   
 LTJason Peters Matt Tobin Dillon Gordon   
 RTLane Johnson Halapoulivaati Vaitai    
 Head coach     
 Defensive coordinator     

And yes, I realize there's probably more green than you'd expect from a 5-9 team. (I agree, for the record).

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