September 28, 2020
Jason Peters has had a remarkable career, not only in terms of his rare blend of girth and athleticism, which made him one of the best left tackles in the NFL for the better part of a decade, but also for his longevity in the NFL, as it's not often that offensive tackles are still playing at age 38.
In each offseason over the last half decade or so, it was common for Philadelphia Eagles observers to wonder when Peters' sharp decline was going to occur. For a while now, Peters has experienced a gradual decaying of skills, but through the 2019 season, there was an argument to be made that he remained at least an above average starter, though certainly not the player he was in his prime.
In 2019, we had Peters down for 3 sacks allowed on the season on 602 pass blocking snaps. That was well below the league average for a starting LT, and a more than acceptable number for a then 37-year-old player. By comparison, Andre Dillard, the player the Eagles selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft to be Peters' successor, allowed 6.5 sacks by our count in his rookie season in just 183 pass blocking snaps.
In week 1, Peters struggled with Football Team uber-talented rookie DE Chase Young. In Week 2, the Eagles made it a priority to get the ball out Carson Wentz's hands quickly. In Week 3 against the Bengals, the wheels fell off for Peters, as he gave up 2 sacks, and was lucky it wasn't 4 or 5, as shown in the following gif thread:
The rapid decline of Eagles LT Jason Peters is underway, with gifs and stuff 📉☹️https://t.co/PLJcDykGT4— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) September 28, 2020
This has been Peters' worst start to a season in memory, and the optics of it look worse considering that he refused to move to LT without a bump in pay after Dillard went down for the season with a biceps injury.
While players have every right to maximize their leverage when the opportunity arises, it is silly that Peters was praised for moving to LT "for the good of the team." Even if you subscribed to the thinking that Peters could roll out of bed and play LT because he has done it for so long (evidently not the case anymore), at a minimum, younger players could have used more reps with the first team at RG, where Peters practiced for a week while he was continuing his efforts to exercise his leverage with the Eagles' front office.
Peters left the game on Sunday with a still-unknown lower body injury. To be determined if he'll be good to go by the Eagles' matchup next Sunday in San Francisco. But at this point, the Eagles don't have much in way of options, with three offensive line starters already out. Peters is going to have to get the Birds through one last season at LT, and it could get really ugly.