December 20, 2016
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Green = Stay
Red = Go
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