As I took a dip into the mailbag this week, I noticed a lot of the questions revolved around the Eagles’ dilemma at left tackle.
If you’re behind, Andre Dillard is out for the season with a torn biceps. The Eagles have Jason Peters in the building but he reportedly wants to get a pay bump if he’s going to go from right guard to left tackle.
So they had Matt Pryor out at left tackle on Sunday and it didn’t go well.
We got enough questions overall to break up the mailbag into a few posts. We’ll get to the others later in the week.
Let’s get to today’s questions:
I get your point about Peters. He has struggled to stay out there for every snap. In 2019, he played 13 games and 75 percent of the Eagles’ snaps. And at 38, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll play every snap in 2020, especially if he’s at left tackle.
I generally side with players on contract matters, but this feels different to me. This feels less like a contract dispute and more like a player who won’t do what’s in the best interest of his team because all of a sudden he has leverage.
But no mistake, Peters definitely has leverage. Because I’m not sure they can go into a season with Pryor or Jordan Mailata or Prince Tega Wanogho at left tackle. Heck, they’re best bet might be to move Lane Johnson or Isaac Seumalo out there but then you’re completely disrupting the line.
Peters is underpaid as a tackle. But I’d also argue that he should have known this was a possibility, playing left tackle if something happened to Dillard. According to OverTheCap, Peters’ $3 million salary makes him the 20th-highest paid right guard in the league but it would make him the 31st highest-paid left tackle. Last year, Peters made $6 million, which would make him the 21st-highest paid left tackle. My guess is that’s around where he wants to be, which is reasonable for a starting left tackle. But if I’m the Eagles I try to find a compromise, pay him somewhere in the middle.
I got a few questions on Riley Reiff, so I’ll answer them here.
My preference would be to find a way to get Peters to play left tackle. He’s significantly older that Reiff, but he’s still better, he knows the offense and he’s already in house. I’d rather some extra money to JP than to pay a player from the outside.
But if the Eagles can’t get Peters at left tackle, then, sure, Reiff isn’t a terrible backup plan. He’s 31 and has played in 120 games (112 starts) since being 1st-round pick back in 2012. He’s about to be available is because the Vikings want him to restructure his deal or they’re going to release him.
There’s no question that Reiff is overpaid. He has a base salary of $10.9 million in 2020 and a base of $11.65M in 2021. The Vikings shouldn’t pay him that. If he’s released, the question then becomes: How much is he looking for? Because the Eagles can probably have Peters for $5-6 million and he’s a better player.
While it’s not always the most accurate way to assess players, ProFootballFocus at least gives us an idea of value for positions like offensive line. Last year, PFF ranked Peters as the 6th best tackle in the NFL and Reiff was 37th.
In 2019, Peters gave up 3 sacks, 4 QB hits, 14 QB hurries and 21 pressures. Reiff gave up 5 sacks, 4 QB hits, 16 QB hurries and 25 pressures. Peters also graded out better in the run game.
Prince Tega Wanogho was indeed a left tackle at Auburn, but I’m not so sure he’s better than Jordan Mailata or Matt Pryor. I definitely saw some up and down play from Tega during training camp and that was going against third- and second-team pass rushers. To me, he’s more of a developmental player right now. If there are more injuries, maybe we’ll see him out there. But my guess is he doesn’t play in 2020.
Since the Eagles drafted Mailata in 2018, I have been asked this question more than any other. I get it, but he’s busy learning how to play tackle. Heck, he might need to play this year. Perhaps one day when he masters his own position, the Eagles could look into that. They’re not there yet.