(973espn.com) – If it’s up to the head coach Jason Peters will be back as the Eagles left tackle in 2020.
“Oh, yeah,” Pederson told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine when asked if he wanted the 38-year-old back next season.
It’s not that easy of course. Peters is set to become a free agent next month and Philadelphia already invested heavily in the heir apparent, trading up in the first round of the draft last year to select Andre Dillard, a talented young player who struggled at times when forced to dip his toes into the deep end during his rookie season.
From a win-now perspective, it’s hard to imagine Dillard being better than Peters would be in 2020 but the adage in the NFL is that it’s better to give up on a player a year too early than a year too late and perhaps the key to unlocking Dillard’s potential as a pass blocker is throwing him into the deep end.
“Andre getting that experience, certainly at left tackle, was huge for him,” GM Howie Roseman said. “We’re very confident in his abilities to be a really good player, but it’s a good problem for us to have that we have a lot of these offensive linemen that we think are good players and that can play. It’s an O-line deficient league, and I think we feel fortunate that we have these options and it’s not the flip side where we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do going forward on our offensive line, that we have a lot of good options to choose from.”
Peters is a likely future Hall of Famer and the godfather of the Eagles locker room. He also has a very close relationship with owner Jeffrey Lurie.
In other words, this isn’t the easiest page to turn from an organizational perspective. The path of least resistance for the Eagles would be for Peters to retire but the veteran is already on record as saying he would like to play another season.
“There’s no question when you talk about guys that are historic players in the National Football League, guys who are going to the Hall of Fame, guys who are going to the Eagles Hall of Fame, those guys are special people and special players and you don’t have a lot of those during the course of your career,” Roseman said. “So you try to make decisions first that are best for the football team, and at the same time, have respect and appreciation for what guys have done and what guys have done going forward and are going to be part of your organization for a long period of time.”
Ultimately the decision is Roseman’s, who has admitted he’s been too sentimental at times back in January. At the combine, the GM was non-committal, however.
“I think as it pertains to all of our free agents, I think it’s important that as we go through this process, we keep an open mind with everyone and try to figure out as we get more information,” he said. “A big part of this week is accumulating information. That’s what we’ll do [at the combine.]”
Pederson, though, has all the information he needs.
“I think I said the same thing about Darren Sproles [over the past two years],” Pederson said. “Heck yeah [I want Peters back].”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen