Wisniewski Arrives with Something to Prove
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — For the second straight year Stefen Wisniewski hit the open market and received only a one-year deal.
And the veteran offensive lineman, who has started 77 of a possible 80 games in his NFL career, is not happy with that reality.
“It’s been tough,” the 27-year-old Wisniewski admitted on Tuesday. "I was certainly hoping to sign a long-term deal for some good money, and thought I played good enough to deserve that and a lot of people did, but just didn’t work out with circumstances.”
Instead Wisniewski got a $2.5 million one-year, prove-it deal with the Eagles, a slight raise from what he received in Jacksonville last season but far from what the Penn State product expected.
“I’m over it already,” he said. “I was over it a week ago, to be honest.”
The Eagles may end up profiting form Wisniewski's surliness because he arrives in Philadelphia with plenty to prove and the intent of re-entering the market yet again in 2017 in search of the contract he feels he deserves.
"I thought I played pretty well all year," Wisniewski said when talking about his lone season with the Jags where he started all 16 games at center. "I had a bad snap or two; that's not good, as a center, but other than that, I thought I played pretty well. It just kinda didn't work out, for a long-term thing."
In the end Wisniewski chose the Eagles, who have an opening at left guard, over Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, who he claimed were "kind of lowballing me, to be honest."
"I'll play wherever (the Eagles) want me to. I'm just looking for an opportunity to play ...It certainly seems there's an opening (at left guard)," said Wisniewski, although he also claimed that the Eagles haven't specified their plans for him just yet.
"I'll compete," he continued. "Wherever I can get on the field is fine. If it's left guard, center, right guard, tackle -- I really don't care."
The most logical scenario would have Wisniewski penciled in at left guard while serving as quite the backup for veteran center Jason Kelce.
Allen Barbre started to the left of Kelce last year and struggled mightily for the most part. Other options Wisniewski will have to hold off include the returning Andrew Gardner, who loses out at RG after the signing of Brandon Brooks, and second-year man Malcolm Bunche.
“I’ve always been a starter,” Wisniewski said. “I certainly don’t intend to be a backup at this point. It’s my goal to be a starter and wherever I can do that will be fine. But that’s certainly my goal.”
Wisniewski did start at left guard as a rookie second-round pick in Oakland but has played center ever since.
“I think (Philadelphia) was the best opportunity for me,” the veteran claimed. “And like I said, there’s a lot of talent on this roster, I like the new coaching staff. Got to know them here a little bit. It’s a very winnable division. Very competitive division last year. I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen