The contract doesn’t change the Eagles’ offseason plans, according to general manager Howie Roseman, even though it frees up a few million dollars in 2014 cap space.
“We had anticipated making a big push on Jason,” Roseman said. “He was a priority. It doesn’t affect our plans because it was part of our plans.”
Roseman didn’t come right out and say that center Jason Kelce is next on his to-do list. Like Peters, Kelce is going into the final year of his contract, and also like Peters, Kelce is an integral part of the offensive line.
“Just trying to keep that private,” Roseman said. “Without getting into specifics: a guy we drafted, a guy that we think very highly of, a guy that fits the culture and the chemistry.”
A few minutes later, Roseman defined players the Eagles would seek to extend.
“We’re going to try to keep the guys we feel are our best players,” Roseman said. “Guys who are part of our culture, and that fit well into the chemistry of our football team on and off the field.”
Sounds like Kelce.
Signing the 32-year-old Peters to a five-year deal doesn’t mark a major change in club policy. The Eagles never had an absolute rule against extending players past age 30, but they did and do look to avoid commitments to older players on the decline. Peters is just an exception.
“This is a unique situation when you’re talking about Jason Peters and his level of excellence,” Roseman said. “It’s hard to turn on the tape and look at him as a 31-year-old offensive tackle. You look at him and you see him dominate players. He still has upside in his body. ... For us, this is about the player.”
The Eagles would still take an offensive tackle in the first round if their board dictated it.
“We’re going to take him,” Roseman said. “That’s a commitment, whatever the position that is. If they’re the highest rated player on our board, we’re going to take them.”
Last year’s first-round pick, tackle Lane Johnson, was touted as a guy who could eventually move to the left side. With Peters locked in for the next few years, that doesn’t seem as likely.
“There’s a lot of talk about left tackle, right tackle,” Roseman said. “When you look at the pass-rushers in this league and how they’re playing defensive players, if you have a weakness on one side, they’re going to put the best pass-rusher on that side. You really need two left tackles in this game and we think we have them.”