I had four thoughts while reading this story about disgruntled Bills' left tackle Jason Peters:
1) Boy does that look like an Eagles lineman. Not one of your more "gazelle-ish" left tackles.
2) Something to think about while we're reading all the pre-draft expert wisdom -- Peters was an undrafted free agent coming out of Arkansas.
3) Context matters -- a lot -- when we're thinking about players. Consider this timeline:
2004 -- Signed as UDFA by Bills. Cut and put on practice squad. Then signed to active roster later in the year to play special teams.
2005 -- Won the starting right tackle job.
2006 -- Moved to left tackle. Signs a five-year, $15 million contract.
2007 -- Makes the Pro Bowl.
2008 -- Holds out the entire offseason seeking a raise over the deal he'd signed just two years before. Shows up just before the season and plays terrible football:
Bills LT Jason Peters (knee) is not expected to play in Week 17.
He's officially doubtful on the injury report. Peters received a Pro Bowl bid in 2008, but did not remotely deserve it over Ryan Clady after a miserable season on Trent Edwards' blind side. Peters still wants a contract extension, but the Bills hold all the cards. They have him under contract through 2010.
Buffalo's Jason Peters gave up more sacks than any starting left tackle in the league in 2008.
His 11.5 sacks allowed came in only 13 games because he missed three with various injuries after a training camp holdout. He was even worse than fellow turnstile LTs Jeff Backus, Khalif Barnes, Kwame Harris, Max Starks, and Levi Jones. Peters has very little leverage if he still wants that raise.
2009 -- Again starts complaining about his contract. Wants to be the highest-paid lineman in the league.
He does have some case for a contract re-work, since he's only the third-highest paid guy on his own line. With that said, what a team player he seems to be. If he were an Eagle, I don't think we'd be throwing bouquets his way.
4) Last point, though it's only tangentially related. Would the Eagles really consider starting a rookie left tackle? I'm just not sure I see that happening, for a few reasons:
- Young offensive linemen have terrible technique. Even the great ones need a ton of work.
- If the Eagles were to trade all the way up for a top-seven guy, how quickly would he be in camp? It's not like agents at the top of the draft or Joe Banner are known for being particularly flexible. With an abbreviated training camp, how is that guy going to be ready to play in September?
- If the Eagles don't trade up, and instead get a guy with technique issues and even less overwhelming physical tools, would that guy even really be the best choice to protect Donovan's blindside? Doesn't it seem to make more likely that they would stash him at guard for at least a year to get his feet wet?
I don't know. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced the 2009 starting LT is already in the league.