The Bears’ competition at left tackle just got a lot stiffer. Following the Bears’ first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, Matt Nagy confirmed that the team signed free agent offensive lineman Jason Peters.
The news first broke with a tweet from Peters’ agent, and immediately questions arose about what this meant in regards to Teven Jenkins’ health, and also what it meant for Elijah Wilkinson, who has been taking the No. 1 reps at LT with Jenkins on the shelf. To that latter question, Nagy was clear.
“I think he’s coming in here to compete to be the left tackle,” Nagy said. “It’s open man. It’s competition… He understands our situation, we understand his situation, let’s go.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to provide protection, and great run game. Whatever we need to do一 I think that’s the beauty of Ryan and these guys, they’re looking everywhere at every spot.”
Peters has long been one of the best, and most reliable, tackles in the league. Since 2004, he’s started in 203 games, made six All-Pro teams (two First-Team), earned nine Pro Bowl berths, and won one Super Bowl with the Eagles following the 2017 season.
Peters is 39 years old, however, so he’s certainly not a long term solution at the position. But in the short term, Nagy believes Peters still has some gas in the tank.
“Somebody that played last year, and did well when you watch the tape,” Nagy said. “We like that.”
That reliability could be the biggest asset for the Bears as they gear up for the regular season. Jenkins still hasn’t practiced since training camp started. Neither has Germain Ifedi on the right side, and Larry Borom remains sidelined in the concussion protocol. Meanwhile, Nagy has said consistency is the biggest thing he’s looking for Wilkinson to improve upon on the field.
“For him it would be just eliminating the big misses,” Nagy said earlier this week. “He’s a good football player and then every now and then there will be one that just kinda might get him. He’s learning from that. Now’s the time to do that.”
Time isn’t running out for the Bears to find their starting left tackle just yet, but the clock is ticking. If Peters has any playing time left in him, that would go a long way towards plugging that hole.