Extra Points Column: Eagles Making Right Move in Moving on from Peters
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will have a new bodyguard in 2020.
The team announced via Twitter Thursday that veteran left tackle Jason Peters will become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 18, thus likely ending his tenure with the Eagles after 11 seasons.
"We are appreciative of everything Jason has contributed to the organization over the last 11 years, including building a first-ballot Hall of Fame career and helping us win our first Super Bowl championships," the team's statement read. "Jason has been an incredible leader and person both on and off the field."
It's the right decision.
There's no doubt that Peters will go down as one of the best left tackles in league history and will be headed to Canton as soon as he's eligible. He will be entering the Eagles' Hall of Fame and may even have his No. 71 jersey retired at some point.
But he's no longer at that level. At 38 years old, the 6-foot-4, 328-pounder is the oldest current offensive lineman in the NFL - he's the 11th-oldest player, one month younger than quarterback Philip Rivers - and has battled various injuries and ailments in recent seasons that limited his effectiveness.
Peters missed three games this season with a knee injury. He received a Super Bowl ring in 2017, but watched the Eagles 41-33 victory over New England from the sideline. He appeared only seven games that year after suffering a torn ACL and MCL.
Meanwhile, the Eagles drafted Andre Dillard in the first round last season as Peters' heir apparent. He still has to gain some strength but showed promise in three starts and occasional backup appearances. Yes, Dillard struggled in one game, but that was at right tackle, a position he had never played in his life before lining up there against Seattle in the 12th game.
"Say you write with your right hand and all of a sudden you had to write a big essay with your left hand right now," Dillard said before playing the Seahawks. "Think about how that would feel. If you do one thing one way for 10 years, like I have, then everything about you is geared toward that."
Peters, who has expressed a desire to play two or three more years, will have some suitors during free agency because of his background and reputation.
But it's time for the Eagles' heir apparent to take over.
It undoubtedly was a difficult move to make.
After signing a contract extension prior the 2017 season, Peters described owner Jeffrey Lurie as his "best friend," saying they talk and text all the time about football and life.
Kudos to Lurie for not allowing that friendship to affect General Manager Howie Roseman's ability to do his job.
Last month, the Eagles' general manager admitted that part of the blame for the Eagles' troubles in recent seasons rested with him. He demonstrated too much loyalty to older players, acquiring and/or re-signing aging veterans such as wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Peters and running back Darren Sproles, who has since retired.
He vowed to avoid making similar mistakes this offseason.
Thursday's decision was a big first step.