Jason Peters was out of work from the start of free agency in March until the Eagles re-signed him in July.
Nobody else wanted him. Nobody else wanted to pay him.
He’s 38 years old, he’s been banged up the last few years and everyone knows he’s not the Pro Bowler he used to be.
But he can still play, and the Eagles were desperate following Brandon Brooks’ injury. They gave him a one-year deal worth $3 million with incentives that could raise the value of his deal to $6 million.
And the thanks the Eagles get for resurrecting his career and paying him generously during a very difficult cap year is a threat that he’s not going to do what his coaches want unless the team gives him MORE money?
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Saturday that Peters told the Eagles he won’t move from guard to tackle in place of the injured Andre Dillard unless he’s paid more like a tackle than a guard.
Who does that?
What kind of teammate refuses to change positions without a new contract?
J.P. always says, “All I want to do is win,” but apparently only at a certain price.
Imagine Nick Foles telling his coaches he won’t start in the playoffs without a bump from his lowly $1 million 2017 backup base salary?
You just don’t do that.
You don’t put your coaches in that position and you don’t put your teammates in that position and you don’t put the general manager who signed you when nobody else would in that position.
The Eagles have taken good care of Peters over the years.
According to Spotrac, he’s earned just over $100 MILLION since they acquired him from the Bills in 2009.
That’s 10 percent of a billion dollars.
That’s more than half of what Jeff Lurie bought the darn team for in 1994.
The Eagles didn’t ask for any of that back when J.P. missed the entire 2012 season or when he missed half the 2017 season and playoffs or when he missed three games last year or hobbled off the field who knows how many times over the last few years.
And the deal Peters signed pays him generously. If he meets the playing time and performance incentives written into it, he can make some serious money.
And the thing is, the difference between guard contracts and tackle contracts isn’t even all that much.
Again according to Spotrac, Peters’ $3 million 2020 salary ranks 43rd among guards and would rank 50th among tackles. The 43rd-highest-paid tackle in the NFL earns $4.4 million.
For someone who was out of work and didn’t have a job and has already been paid $100 million by the Eagles and was out of work and can make another $3 million if he just stays healthy and plays really well you’re going to become a distraction and issue ultimatums to your coach and your football team and put your cap-strapped GM in an impossible situation 15 days before opening day in the middle of a pandemic over $1.4 million?
This is the last thing the Eagles need right now.
Peters is supposed to be a leader on this team. He’s supposed to be an example to the younger guys. Which is everybody else.
What kind of message does it send when a likely Hall of Famer puts himself ahead of the team like this?
The message is, "I’m Bigger than The Team," and as brilliant a career as J.P. has had, that’s just not the case.
Peters knew when he re-signed there was a chance he could wind up at left tackle depending what happened with Dillard.
The contract is to play football. Not to play right guard.
You don’t like it? Don’t sign it.
Peters has put the Eagles in a real bind here.
They don’t have anybody else to play left tackle, and it’s a bad look when you give in to a player’s threats because that usually leads to other players making similar threats.
Peters has always said he doesn’t care where he plays. He just wants to win.
“I’m going to play as long as I can,” he said last summer during training camp last summer. “As long as I can do it, I’m going to go. Whether that’s tackle or guard, I can play all across the board.”
The Eagles need Peters to be a good teammate right now a lot more than he needs a little more money.