Peters Headed to Free Agency as Eagles Shut Down Dillard Narrative
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles have seemingly decided to move on from veteran left tackle Jason Peters.
In the wake of a growing narrative that Philadelphia does not believe in 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard the Eagles released a statement claiming a mutual agreement between the 38-year-old veteran and the organization that will enable Peters to enter the free-agent market on March 18.
"The Philadelphia Eagles and Jason Peters have mutually agreed that Peters will enter the free-agent market when the new league year begins on March 18," the organization said. "We are appreciative of everything Jason has contributed to the organization over the last 11 seasons in Philadelphia, including building a first-ballot Hall of Fame career and helping us win out first Super Bowl championship."
Inside the NovaCare Complex, there has been a back-and-forth on Peters, according to an NFL source with GM Howie Roseman realizing the team needs to get younger and pushing to turn the page with owner Jeffrey Lurie, who is very close to Peters, among a contingent pushing for Peters' return, a camp that also includes offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and to a lesser extent head coach Doug Pederson.
All value Peters, including Roseman, but the feelers about keeping Peters for another year, which had little to do with Dillard's upside from an organizational perspective, spawned theories that the Eagles had already given up on the second-year player and might even consider trading him.
In truth, the Eagles thought Dillard showed impressive upside as a pass protector in 2019 even if a quick cameo on the right side was a disaster. There is an acknowledgment that Dillard needs to get stronger to improve against the bull rush while also continue to progress as a run blocker.
While the statement today seemed like a goodbye the Eagles did leave the door cracked for a possible return due to the reverence for Peters at the top of the organization.
"Jason has been an incredible leader and person both on and off the field," the team said. "We will remain in communication as each side continues to evaluate its options in free agency."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen