If the Eagles were hoping for a smooth, feel-good 2020 transition from all-time great left tackle Jason Peters to 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard, that might not be happening.
Peters, who turns 38 on Jan. 22, said after Sunday’s wild card round playoff loss to Seattle that he definitely wants to play one more year, and probably two. He indicated that if the Eagles don’t want him, he’ll move on.
Of course, we don’t know that the Eagles won’t welcome Peters back with open arms; offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland certainly would, and Stoutland has a lot of pull. But the second-oldest roster in the NFL could stand to get younger and less injury-prone, and the Eagles might not envision paying their left tackle $6 million next season.
Peters took his customary false start penalty in Sunday’s 17-9 loss, and he was part of an offensive line performance that was far short of overwhelming, with Halapoulivaati Vaitai playing right tackle for Lane Johnson (high ankle sprain) and Matt Pryor playing right guard for Brandon Brooks (shoulder surgery). But Peters was still one of the better left tackles in the NFL this season -- far below his nine-time Pro Bowl standard, but not at all bad. And we don’t know how good Dillard will be, despite his pedigree.
“I told ‘em I wanted to play another year. I still can get it done,” said Peters, who was on the field for 75 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps in 2019. “If I couldn’t get it done, I’d just walk away, but I can still go.
“I want to be here ... but the nature of this business, sometimes they move on. We’ll have to see,” said Peters, who arrived in a 2009 trade with Buffalo.
“I still got juice in the tank,” Peters said. “Whether they sign me back here or not, I’m going to play another year, or two. I want to set the bar for other guys to come, instead of getting pushed out of the game -- if you can still play at an older age -- Tom Brady, I can name some guys -- if you can still go, why not open the door for the guys behind you” by changing perceptions of when careers should end.
“That’s what I want to do. I got all the accolades, the All-Pros, the Pro Bowls, the Super Bowl. As long as I can play, I’m gonna go.”