NFL free agency 2019: A comprehensive look at Eagles’ offensive tackles

NFL free agency 2019: A comprehensive look at Eagles’ offensive tackles

Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Andrew Kulp continue the 2019 edition of Stay or Go, trying to figure out the future of the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Today, they’ll look at offensive tackle. 

Jason Peters

Roob: I’m probably in the minority on this one, but I think the Eagles try to squeeze one more year out of Peters. Even at 80 percent of his usual self, he’s still better than anybody else. The injuries are a concern, but Peters is a relative bargain at $7.75 million in 2019, which according to SpoTrac makes him the 27th-highest paid offensive tackle in the league next year. 

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Even if the Eagles take an offensive tackle with their first-round pick, I’m not sure they can just plug and play. If I’m the Eagles, I’m seriously considering moving on from Peters, who struggled to stay healthy and stay in games during the 2018 season. But with a cap hit just north of $10 million and without anyone else ready to take that spot, I think he’s back for one more season.

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Folks have been trying to run Peters out of town forever, but here’s the bottom line: 1. he played in all 18 Eagles games last season; 2. he played well above average, even coming off a torn ACL; 3. $10.6 million really isn’t that expensive for a quality left tackle. Peters is 37, and while he may never reach a 10th Pro Bowl, he’s still pretty good —  and undoubtedly better than the alternative.

Verdict: Stays

Lane Johnson

Roob: I think I’ll keep him around. Now that he’s gotten past his suspensions, Johnson has really blossomed into one of the best offensive tackles in Eagles history, one of the best first-round picks in Eagles history and a perennial Pro Bowler. Johnson isn’t just an exceptional player, he’s just a tough, outspoken dude who helps give the Eagles their swagger. 

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Easy one. Johnson is a two-time Pro Bowler and when he’s healthy, there’s no better right tackle in the NFL. He should get snubbed by Pro Bowl voters every year, because he was dynamic after that happened in 2018. 

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: Better late than never for Johnson, who was recently added to the Pro Bowl —  that’s two in a row. Got off to a bit of a rough start in 2018, but was back to playing at an elite level in the second half. His $15.2 million is currently the highest figure on the team (excluding Nick Foles), though a dominant 29-year-old at the top of his game is well worth the price.

Verdict: Stays

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Roob: Vaitai was solid enough down the stretch last year to start at left tackle for a Super Bowl champ, but he didn’t play close to that same level when he had to step in for Peters this year. Vaitai is going to be 26 by training camp and could be gone if the Eagles take an offensive tackle in the first couple rounds. I think the Super Bowl run gets him one more year.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: While it’s hard to look at Big V and think he’s going to be Peters’ replacement, he is at least a decent depth piece as a swing tackle. He can fill that role, but he’s probably not the ideal long-term fit. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Gotta hand it to the guy. Whenever Big V’s number is called, he’s up to the task. I’m still not sold on him as a future starter. On the other hand, the Eagles have been able to coach around Vaitai’s limitations, and he only turns 26. He’s got a year left making basically the minimum, though it might not be a bad idea to sign him to an affordable, low-risk extension.

Verdict: Stays

Jordan Mailata

Roob: I know a lot of fans are impatient and want to see Mailata play now, but he’s still only 21 years old, he’s still very new to the game of football, and he’s still just six months out from his first career padded practice. Mailata’s an intriguing prospect — huge, fast, powerful. His time will come, I just don’t think it will come in 2019. 

Verdict: Stays

Dave: He’s not ready to take over as the starting left tackle for the next decade, but he is just so damn intriguing. He has all the tools to become an All-Pro offensive tackle, but he’s still learning the game. I think we’re still at least a year away from him really playing. 

Verdict: Stays 

Kulp: Mailata was incredibly impressive in preseason action, and not simply for a guy who literally never played the sport before May. The idea he’s going to take over for Peters in 2019 is farfetched, but another year down the road? Wouldn’t rule it out. The experiment continues.

Verdict: Stays

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Midterms: Grading every player on Eagles offense

Midterms: Grading every player on Eagles offense

The Eagles are 4-4 after playing half of their 2018 schedule. It’s been a disappointing first half, but they’re still alive in the division. 

Here’s a quick first-half evaluation of every offensive player on the roster right now. We'll evaluate every player on the defense tomorrow: 

Josh Adams: The rookie finally became part of the rotation in Week 8. Didn’t have high expectations, but he’s been OK: B- 

Nelson Agholor: Weird season for Nelly so far, averaging just 9.1 yards per receptions. I think that’s more game plan than him:

Brandon Brooks: If you haven’t noticed an offensive guard through eight weeks, he’s doing his job:

DeAndre Carter: He hasn’t done much offensively, but has become a good punt returner in Sproles’ absence. He’s done a solid job: B

Corey Clement: It’s been a disappointing season for Clement. He got hurt and now he’s behind Wendell Smallwood on the depth chart and averaging 3.3 yards per carry. He hasn’t gotten a ton of chances, but he needs to make more of the ones he gets: D 

Zach Ertz: Don’t look now, but Ertz is on pace for one of the greatest statistical seasons in NFL history … and not just for a tight end: A+ 

Nick Foles: He started two games and the Birds went 1-1. Not a lot to go off of for Foles:

Shelton Gibson: The Eagles need a speed receiver and Gibson can’t get on the field. I partly blame the coaches for that, but some of it has to be Gibson. At least he’s a really good gunner: C 

Dallas Goedert: The rookie has had a modest showing as a receiver, but does have three touchdown catches. And he’s already proven to be the best blocking tight end on the team: B+

Alshon Jeffery: Man, did the Eagles miss this guy. Since coming back, Jeffery has 29 catches for 341 yards and four touchdowns. He’s been a No. 1:

Lane Johnson: After an All-Pro season a year ago, Johnson wasn’t playing at his best and has had a couple injuries. Wasn’t a good first half of the season:

Jason Kelce: While he’ll never admit it, Kelce looked hurt early in the season, but he’s starting to look healthier after a shaky start: C+ 

Jordan Mailata: We haven’t seen the Aussie in game action yet, but he never played football and he’s on the team and has shown enough to be active on some game days: B

Jordan Matthews: He wasn’t even on the team to start the season, but he’s fourth on the team in receiving and has made a few key third-down grabs: B+

Josh Perkins: I’ll probably never understand why the Eagles played Perkins so much early in the season. He has five catches through eight games: C-  

Jason Peters: I give him credit for playing through injuries and 75 percent of Peters is still better than a lot of tackles in the NFL. But he set the bar sooo high:

Matt Pryor: We haven’t seen Pryor yet this season: Incomplete 

Isaac Seumalo: After a shaky start at left guard when he was put there, he’s been playing well. And his versatility/ability to play right tackle has proved really valuable:

Wendell Smallwood: He wasn’t supposed to be on the team and now he’s leading the team in rushing. Give the guy credit: B+

Darren Sproles: It’s a shame that Sproles has been out since the opener: Incomplete 

Nate Sudfeld: He looks damn good holding that clipboard: Incomplete 

Halapoulivaati Vaitai: He’s played 177 snaps so far this season and he hasn’t looked good. The Eagles need more from him: D

Chance Warmack: Hasn’t been on the field, which is telling. And he’s getting paid for not coming close to playing: D

Carson Wentz: What this guy is doing coming off an ACL surgery is remarkable. Ding him for a few things if you want, but he’s playing at an incredibly high level:

Stefen Wisniewski: I didn’t think Wiz was playing super bad when he got benched. He didn’t take it well: C 

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Eagles Injury Update: Lane Johnson now questionable vs. Giants

Eagles Injury Update: Lane Johnson now questionable vs. Giants

Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson has been downgraded to questionable for tonight’s game against the Giants in North Jersey. 

Johnson was limited in practice Monday and Tuesday, but initially wasn’t listed as questionable, so it looked like he was going to play. Now, that is apparently up in the air. 

According to NFL Network, Johnson has a high-ankle sprain and called it an “uphill battle” for him to play. 

If Johnson can’t play, Halapoulivaati Vaitai would start in his place at right tackle and then the Eagles have to hope Jason Peters (quad) is able to play the whole game. A few times this year, Peters has had to leave a game and Big V has come in for him. 

If Big V starts at right tackle and Peters goes out, the Eagles are going to really have to shuffle the line because they don’t really have another backup who can play tackle because Isaac Seumalo is starting. So unless they want to get Matt Pryor or Jordan Mailata their first game action at left tackle on the fly, they’d need to shuffle. It’s likely Big V would go to left tackle, Seumalo would go to right and Stefen Wisniewski would be inserted back at left guard. That’s changing three spots on the line during a game. Not ideal. 

As a reminder, the following five players were already ruled out for this game: Darren Sproles (hamstring), Haloti Ngata (calf), Corey Graham (hamstring), Nate Gerry (knee, ankle), D.J. Alexander (quad). 

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