Eagles

Eagles

Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Andrew Kulp bring back Stay or Go with the 2020 version, trying to figure out the future of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Today, we’ll look at interior offensive linemen:

Brandon Brooks 

Roob: Brooks is one of the best in the game, and hopefully he’s not going anywhere for a long time. Brooks is eight years in now and just keeps getting better. He didn’t make his first Pro Bowl until he was 28 but has now made three in a row. Snakebit with injuries at the end of the last couple seasons but a gamer and an absolute stud.

Verdict: Stays

 

Dave: What Brooks did in 2019 was nothing short of amazing. He came back from an Achilles tear in eight months and was even better than when he left, and he was already a Pro Bowler. I think he was a pretty egregious snub from the All-Pro team. There simply wasn’t a better right guard in football last season. The Eagles were wise to lock him up to a long-term deal this season. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: It's a shame Brooks suffered another significant injury late in the season, again putting his status in jeopardy for Week 1. The way he responded to his torn Achilles though -- coming back not just in time for opening day, but putting together one of the most dominant performances by an O-lineman in the NFL -- there's no reason to question how he'll fare with a separated shoulder. Signed to a big extension in November, Brooks is an Eagle for the long haul. 

 

Verdict: Stays

Jason Kelce 

Roob: One of these years, and it’s not too far off, he won’t be back. Kelce is through nine years now, and he’s made it clear that he takes a very long, serious look at his future after every season. He never misses any playing time, but his body has been through a lot and he’s a physical wreck by the time each season ends. He’s an under-sized center playing well over 1,000 snaps a season. But he’s also an absolute monster and for selfish reasons – I just love watching him play – I hope he sticks around at least another year.

Verdict: Stays 

Dave: The big question about Kelce every year is if he’s going to retire. His body takes a beating each year but it seems like it wasn’t as bad in 2019, as chronicled by The Athletic. The Eagles gave Kelce some money last offseason, he’s still under contract and is coming off another All-Pro season. I think he’ll be back. The Eagles do have to start preparing for life after him, though.

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: It's not a question of whether want Kelce back after his third consecutive season being named the NFL's first-team All-Pro at center. It's whether Kelce will want to continue playing. The 32-year-old made it known retirement is very much on his mind. He's accomplished everything there is to accomplish. He's got a family. He's had his share of injuries. That decision is coming soon. Probably not this year though. Kelce has $11 million in cash coming his way in 2020, and the Eagles could easily position themselves as contenders again. Why not give it one more go? 

Verdict: Stays

Isaac Seumalo 

Roob: After getting a contract extension back in the spring, Seumalo got off to a shaky start but rebounded to give the Eagles a pretty solid last few months at left guard. He’s not a star but he’s durable and consistent and plays hard. It’ll be different presumably playing next to Andre Dillard instead of Jason Peters next year. It’s a lot easier to play left guard when you have a potential Hall of Famer on either side. But I think Seumalo is fine.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: That game against Atlanta last year was about as bad as it can get for an offensive lineman. But I give Seumalo a ton of credit; he rebounded and ended up having a solid season. Sure, he was probably a weak link in a line made up of Pro Bowlers, but he’s a solid player, still pretty young and under contract. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: Fans constantly seem to be replacing Seumalo on Twitter and talk radio, even though he's a very dependable and cost effective player, averaging a little more than $4 million per year in total cash through 2022. He's only 26 too. Sure, Seumalo gets pushed around every once in awhile, but it's so infrequent, the Eagles couldn't easily find somebody better without investing a high draft pick or spending lots of money -- and even then, it would be a roll of the dice. I'm not here for the idea of moving Jason Peters to left guard, either. 

Verdict: Stays

Matt Pryor 

Roob: Pryor was solid in the three games he was forced to play in place of Brandon Brooks. Unlike a lot of young offensive linemen forced to play because of injuries, he's confident and consistent and you don't see a lot of highs and lows in his performance. I would expect the Eagles to give Pryor a little more tackle in camp and see if he can take over the Big V role backing up both guards and tackles. 

Verdict: Stays

Dave: When Pryor was forced into game action, there was obviously a drop-off from Brooks but Pryor held his own in his first real significant playing time. There’s a chance he could be the backup at every guard and tackle position heading into 2020. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: One of the underrated pleasant surprises, Pryor only played 79 offensive snaps in the regular season, but actually held his own. It was like he was a different player after an incredibly shaky preseason after which he was almost certainly in jeopardy of being cut. Instead, he's managed to position himself as the Eagles' top reserve guard with Big V's departure imminent. The club could still draft some competition, but Pryor holds the upper hand for now. 

Verdict: Stays

Nate Herbig 

Roob: Herbig actually got into the Giants game on the last day of the season, making his NFL debut for three kneel-downs at the end of the game. This could be the beginning of a brilliant NFL career. Or maybe not. Who knows. The Eagles liked Herbig enough to keep the undrafted rookie on the roster all year, so I’m going to assume they like him enough to keep him around next year too.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: It seems like Jeff Stoutland is always allowed to have one or two project guys on the roster. Herbig is one of them. His teammates seem to love the youngest player on the roster and there’s a reason the Eagles taught him two positions in his first NFL training camp and then kept him around all season. They like the potential and that’s enough to keep him around. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: Herbig turned heads in training camp and the preseason, and not just because of his size -- 6-foot-4, 334 pounds. He's powerful for a 21-year-old kid, and acquitted himself well at a difficult position for a young player, center. If Kelce did retire, there's probably at least a 50-50 chance Herbig would wind up the starter. The Eagles seem to like him that much. 

 

Verdict: Stays 

Sua Opeta 

Roob: Always my favorite part of the Stay-or-Go series: Writing about a late-season undrafted rookie interior offensive lineman practice squad call up and trying to pretend I have any clue whether he can play. I have no idea. No one does. So I’m not even going to guess if he stays or goes. Oh, wait, I have to? Dave Zangaro says I have to. OK … 

Verdict: Stays

Dave: My absolute favorite part of training camp last summer was just before Opeta was about to take a rep, Jeff Stoutland just yelled at the top of his lungs, “It’s Sua time!” Stout seems to like Opeta enough that when another team came sniffing around him, the Eagles promoted him immediately. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Like Herbig, Opeta is powerful. Even stronger, in fact. He led all offensive linemen in the bench press at the 2019 scouting combine. Unlike Herbig, Opeta spent three months of the practice squad before cracking the 53-man roster, so not sure the Eagles are as in love with him. He could very easily be back on the scout team at least though, so that counts for something. 

Verdict: Stays

Keegan Render 

Roob: I guess if Kelce retires and Isaac Seumalo moves to center Render night have a chance to be in the mix as a backup center. He finished the year on the practice squad and signed a future’s contract, so he’s the longest of long shots going into 2020.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Render is from Iowa, a school known for churning out offensive linemen so I wouldn’t completely rule him out. But as long as those other guys are all back, I have a hard time seeing him crack the roster. But a good guy to keep around on the practice squad and develop in case Kelce retires next year. As for the 53-man roster …

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: It may surprise you to know Render was on the Eagles' practice squad since October. At least, it surprised me. The guy doesn't even have a Wikipedia page, which seems like a bad sign. 

Verdict: Goes

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