Over the next four weeks, we’ll be counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season.
20: Nate Sudfeld
19. Avonte Maddox
18. Nathan Gerry
17. Dallas Goedert
16. Derek Barnett
15. Jalen Reagor
14. Jalen Mills
13. Brandon Brooks
12. Rodney McLeod
11. Javon Hargrave
10. Miles Sanders
9. Andre Dillard
8. Brandon Graham
7. Zach Ertz
6. DeSean Jackson
5. Lane Johnson
The Eagles have already lost one Pro Bowler on the right side of their offensive line. They definitely can’t afford to lose another.
Johnson, 30, isn’t just a good player. The former first-round pick has become the best right tackle in the NFL, making the last three Pro Bowl teams.
Ever since Johnson lost 10 games in the 2016 season for a second violation of the NFL’s PED policy, he has been incredible.
Johnson missed four games last season and also missed the playoff game against Seattle with a high ankle sprain. But when Johnson was on the field, he was great in 2019, ranking as ProFootballFocus’s fourth-best offensive tackle last season.
Since Doug Pederson became head coach in 2016, including playoffs, the Eagles are 36-17 with Johnson and 6-11 without him in the starting lineup. The whole offense is different when he’s not in there.
There used to be this thought that the best tackles had to play on the left side of the line to protect the quarterback’s blindside, but Johnson is helping to change the stigma about playing right tackle. Because teams had traditionally put their best tackle on the left side, many of the NFL’s premier pass rushers line up on the left side of the defensive line to face right tackles. That means Johnson ends up seeing a murderer’s row of the best pass rushers in the game every season. And just about every week, he shuts them down.
The Eagles have shown how much Johnson means to them. They gave him a four-year extension worth $72 million last November. That contract of $18 million per year made Johnson the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. (Laremy Tunsil passed that with a new deal in April).
But Johnson is now signed through the 2025 season. He’s the first player the Eagles have gotten under contract through 2025. At the completion of that season, he’ll be 35 years old.
It’s a shame that Johnson will have to play the 2020 season without his friend and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks next to him this season. Brooks tore his Achilles this offseason and will miss the entire year. The two of them together, plus Jason Kelce at center, form the most formidable right side of the line in football.
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