Changing the Guard: Eagles Give Brooks Big Money
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — A disastrous season at offensive guard in 2015 had the Eagles getting out the checkbook to sign former Texans stalwart Brandon Brooks to a five-year deal worth $40 million, first reported by NFL Media.
Brooks was considered to be one of the best interior lineman available on the open market, perhaps behind only Kelechi Osemele, who left Baltimore for Oakland and will likely shift to tackle full-time in the Bay Area.
Brooks, 27, excels as a zone-blocker, particularly in pass protection and the 6-foot-5, 335-pound Miami of Ohio product will likely step in at left guard for the Eagles where Allen Barbre struggled for much of last season.
He has experience at both guard spots and also right tackle so his versatility could also help down the line whenever the Eagles need to move on from veteran left tackle Jason Peters. Current right tackle Lane Johnson is expected to flip to the left side to replace Peters at some point in Brooks could then possibly kick out to right tackle.
Originally a third-round pick, Brooks slipped a bit as a run blocker last season but Houston was also without Arian Foster for a large percentage of time. Previously he had excelled at that part of his job, ranking in the top five guards in both '13 and '14, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
Last season Brooks was No. 37 of the 81 guards rated by PFF largely due his struggles in the run game. He was the eighth best pass protector.
The Eagles still have Barbre, Andrew Gardner and Matt Tobin as options for the other guard position along with developmental prospects like Tanner Hawkinson, Malcolm Bunche and Brett Boyko in reserve.
Ironically the Texans originally drafted Brooks with the pick acquired from Philadelphia in the DeMeco Ryans trade.
The Eagles confirmed the deal with Brooks Wednesday evening.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen