Jason Peters has put the Eagles in a very difficult position, and whatever you think of the way he’s going about this, the Eagles have to resolve it.
And they don’t have much time.
Because they don’t have a left tackle, and opening day is 13 days away. Which means Chase Young is 13 days away.
Peters has every right to want more money to play left tackle instead of right guard. He has every right to ask more money to play left tackle. And the Eagles have historically been very fair about tweaking guys’ contracts when it’s earned.
Where Peters is dead wrong is threatening not to play the position his coaches want him at without a raise.
But this is the reality, and the Eagles need a way out.
The Eagles have tried Matt Pryor at left tackle the last couple days, which predictably did not go well. He’s not ready.
Jordan Mailata has taken reps at left tackle, but the fact that he’s behind Pryor speaks volumes. If Pryor is this bad and Mailata is behind him? He’s not ready.
Jack Driscoll … Prince Tega Wanogho … You know you can’t ask an untested mid-round rookie to block Carson Wentz’s blind side without a preseason.
Peters is 38 and I don’t know how long he’ll last at left tackle. He’s not the player he used to be, and the injuries are a concern.
But what choice do they have?
With Andre Dillard out for the year the Eagles have to go with J.P. at left tackle and hope for the best.
The challenge is finding a way to make him happy without appearing like they’re giving in to him.
Because once you give in to one player, that’s when Howie Roseman has a line of players outside his door saying, “Hey, you bumped him up, what about me?”
Now every guy that moves from slot to outside corner or 3rd-down edge rusher to every-down player or situational back to starter is going to want a raise.
Here’s what the Eagles should do.
Peters signed a one-year, $3 million contract with another $3 million in incentives.
Tackles on the average earn about 28 percent more than guards.
The difference is about $840,000. Let’s round that up to $1 million.
The Eagles can take $1 million in incentives and convert it into base salary. Because the incentives fall into the “Not Likely to Be Earned” category based on his performance last year, that would add $1 million to J.P.’s cap number.
But they can say, “Hey, we expected Jason to earn these incentives anyway, so we’re not really paying him more than we planned, we’re just guaranteeing that money.”
And J.P. gets a raise that brings his contract up to the exact same relative level at tackle as his original one did at guard.
Both sides get what they want.
The Eagles save face by saying they’re not really giving Peters a raise, they’re just shuffling some money around, and Peters can say he got the raise he deserves.
If it’s not enough? If he wants more money and he still won’t swing over?
Then you move Lane Johnson to left tackle, which was the original plan when the Eagles drafted him seven years ago. You put Pryor at right tackle, where he’s got a lot more experience than left, and you stick Nate Herbig or Driscoll in there at right guard and hold your breath.
And then you cut J.P.
And wish him luck finding a $4 million contract somewhere else.
Because you can’t play a full season with a guy refusing to play where the coaches want him to play. Especially after you’ve made an honest effort to give him what he wants.
Doug Pederson talks all the time about culture, and that’s not the culture he wants here.
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