It has been widely reported that Philadelphia Eagles star left tackle Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles earlier in the week while working out in Texas. This is an enormous blow for the Eagles, as replacing one of the top players in the league at any position is always a difficult endeavor. The situation with Peters is no different. Philadelphia signed Peters in 2009 to a well deserved 6 year $60 million contract that included $25 million guaranteed. The Eagles don’t spend that kind of money on a left tackle unless they are confident he is worth the investment; and Peters has more than lived up to the contract thus far. The general consensus is that Peters has been far and away the best offensive tackle in the NFL since he came to Philly in 2009.
The one saving grace for this Eagles team is that the injury happened in March and not August. The timing does allow Philadelphia to explore a number of options to try and plug the giant hole that Peters’ injury leaves at tackle. The team just re-signed King Dunlap. Todd Herremans has proven he is able to play effectively at multiple positions. There are some serviceable free agent options still available, as well. And, there’s always the draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if Peters’ injury shifts the Eagles draft strategy, resulting in them taking a tackle with one of their first 3 picks. None of these options are likely to produce a left tackle of Peters’ caliber, but the Eagles SHOULD be able to find someone to play the position that will not be a liability. That’s about the best they can cask for at this point.
The left tackle position is an incredibly important one in football, mainly because that position is generally credited with protecting the blind side of right-handed quarterbacks. Regardless of the fact that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is left-handed, the impact of Peters’ absence is going to be felt until he is able to return. Peters was part of the offensive line group that allowed LeSean McCoy to have a breakout year and shatter Eagles franchise records. Unfortunately, the timetable for returning from an Achilles rupture is 6 months at a minimum, and is generally closer to 9 – 12 months. With that being said, it is almost inconceivable to think that Peters will return at any point during the 2012 season.
Peters is currently 30 years old and there has been some talk that this injury has a chance to end his career. Regardless of what team a person plays for, it is never good to hear of the possibility of a career ending injury. Not to mention the fact that Peters was training on his own in the offseason in order to be able to come to camp and contribute to the team. Let’s just hope his recovery goes as scheduled and he is able to play a few more years on his soon-to-be surgically repaired Achilles.