If you’re the type to curl up in a dark corner while spilling your half empty glass of water, then there’s a reason to be concerned about the Jason Peters contract. A four-year extension at $41.5 million ($51.3 million including the existing year) is heavy both in dollars and length for a tackle who’s 32 years old, and is only about two years removed from an Achilles tear.
But if you’re the sort to enjoy the brighter and peachier things in life, there’s much more to like.
The finances are a little concerning, especially considering that age worry, but they’re not terrible. Please remember that even with his increasing age, retaining a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time first team All Pro is never a cheap endeavor at the left tackle position. For an idea of the going rate at that spot in the current market, we can look to what the St. Louis Rams gave Jake Long a year ago during free agency. Long also received a four-year deal, but at a rate of $34 million with $16 million guaranteed, and that’s on the low end of left tackle pay days due to injury concerns.
Sure, Peters has those same concerns to same extent as well, but he became far more valuable in 2012 and worth the extra change when the Eagles’ offensive line absolutely crumbled during his absence, allowing 48 sacks and a league worst 118 quarterback hits, which broke Michael Vick (again). Left tackles are usually given a small mountain of paper with monetary value to prevent that ending, and at a per year rate the total value of Peters’ new contract falls in line with the top tier at his position, which is where he belongs. Peters will make $10.3 million annually, which is behind the yearly salaries given to Joe Thomas ($11.5 million) and Ryan Clady ($10.5 million), and only marginally ahead of those given to D’Brickashaw Ferguson ($10 million), and Trent Williams ($10 million).
What matters most for Peters given his age is the guaranteed money, and at $19.55 million that’s several stratospheres behind Thomas ($44 million) and Clady ($33 million). Upon further review then, the finances are somewhere between fine and completely tolerable in the current market, with the manageable guarantee protecting the Eagles against an injury or body breakdown of some kind.
And the product purchased is of the highest quality. Including last spring’s first-round pick Lane Johnson, the Eagles now have four members of their offensive line under contract beyond 2015, and in Peters they extended a left tackle who gave up only four sacks and three quarterback hits over 1,040 snaps this past season according to Pro Football Focus. Even better, Eagles running plays went for an average of 6.12 yards when they were called to go behind Peters, showing he’s a vital piece for the passing game while keeping young Nick Foles upright, and on the ground while opening lanes for LeSean McCoy in Chip Kelly’s run-heavy offense.