Now that it’s week 14, the Eagles are ready to make a playoff push. One of the main reason the Eagles have taken such a big step this year offensively is because of the offensive line. Since week 4, the Eagles have been one of the best run-blocking teams in the NFL. I say week 4 because of the way Stefen Wisniewki has played this season. Stefen Wisniewki has played himself into being the projected starter of the next season as well. Wisniewski has had to deal with the transition from All-Pro Jason Peters to Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Through that transition Wisniewski hasn’t missed a beat which makes you think about the 2018 season. With the increase in play from Wisniewski it is a good time to be an Eagles fan and the meaning of this article is that the Eagles haven’t reached their peak at the offensive line.
The Eagles are likely to get back Jason Peters next year. You could say that is a good thing, but not many will talk about Peters coming back being a negative. Jason Peters is going to be thirty-six next year and is coming off a torn ACL and MCL injury to the right knee. Jason Peters is also on the books for a $11.7 million cap hit in 2018. Peters took a pay cut last offseason so asking for another restructure would be asinine this offseason. The Eagles likely wouldn’t be able to trade Peters for anything of value I’d assume, and I still don’t see the Eagles just cutting Peters. There is always the possibility of Peters retiring, but like I said he still is on pace to make over eleven million dollars next season so that’s a probable, no. I think it would be in the Eagles best interest to move on from Peters and even those efforts fail I would draft a tackle early in this year’s draft. The Eagles, unlike years in past, have a scarce amount draft picks, but it’s not like the Eagles have a lot of holes on the roster right now or in the future.
The Eagles have 46 players on the active roster right now signed through 2018. The Eagles are in perfect shape for the future at almost every position, but left tackle. The case is still out there on Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who I think is a capable tackle in the league, but the Eagles could and should look for a better prospect. Doug Pederson said last week that Vaitai gets, “better,” every week he plays. That could be dissected in many ways, but Vaitai simply didn’t play well last week against Seahawks. It’s worth noting that the Eagles do seem to like Vaitai and he hasn’t been horrible.
So now we take a look at the options in the draft this year’s draft. The Eagles are going to be drafting in the late first round which leaves them in play for a guy like; Orlando Brown (Oklahoma), Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame), Kolton Miller (UCLA), Connor Williams (Texas), and even Martinas Rankin (Texas A&M). If one of them is on the board when the Eagles are up I can see the Eagles pulling the trigger. Drafting a skilled prospect like one of those guys I just mentioned would give the Eagles the future at left and right tackle which is something not every team in the NFL can say, especially with a quarterback like Carson Wentz.
So to reframe, the Eagles’s number one priority should be to get an upgrade in left/right tackle over Halapoulivaati Vaitai. I say this is a bigger need than resigning Nigel Bradham or restructuring Malcolm Jenkins’s contract.