In what is definitely the worst development of the offseason, Eagles all-pro Jason Peters ruptured his achilles. Reports on recovery time vary at this point with some being more optimistic than others but Jason Peters should not be expected to play this season. The best situation is that he rehabs well and comes back 100% in 2013. This is a huge blow to the Eagles offense as Jason Peters is arguably the best offensive tackle in the game depending on your point of view and definitely a top five offensive tackle in the game. He is really, really good. But, the Eagles move on and the question is, who fills the enormous hole that just opened up? There are a couple of options.
Todd Herremans could slide out and replace Jason Peters. Todd was an offensive tackle in college and he went through the entire draft process as an offensive tackle prospect. He started a handful of games at left tackle in his rookie season when Tra Thomas went down and performed well. He started a pre-season game against the Carolina Panthers a couple years back in the pouring rain and he did well against Julius Peppers. And when Jason Peters and King Dunlap were both hurt last season, Herremans started at left tackle against the Washington Redskins where he allowed zero hits, sacks or pressures against Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan.
The Eagles also re-signed King Dunlap today. He has filled in for Jason Peters each of the past two seasons and done well. In his last 8 games at offensive tackle (he started one at LG), he has only allowed 1 sack, 2 QB hits and 7 QB hurries according to ProFootballFocus. He has experience on both sides of the line so he could play left tackle or right tackle.
You could sign a free agent offensive tackle. There are few notable offensive tackles left on the market at this point but the two who stand out most are Marcus McNeil and DeMetrius Bell. McNeil had been a good player for years out in San Diego but he’s had troubles with his neck recently (he missed the end of the year) and there are questions about how he would fit in Mudd’s scheme. DeMetrius Bell was an underachiever in Buffalo after they called on him to replace Jason Peters but he stood out last year before a season ending knee injury. Bell’s athleticism and better health likely make him a better fit than McNiel. [Interesting side note: Bell is Karl Malone's son]
And then, there is the draft. Matt Kalil is definitely out of the Eagles reach and they would likely have to trade up to get Riley Reiff. If the Eagles opted to draft a tackle early, Jonathan Martin, Cordy Glenn and Mike Adams are all projected to be on the board when the Eagles pick. Some experts have even speculated that David DeCastro could play RT.
And remember, Evan Mathis was the emergency offensive tackle last year. Mathis started at offensive tackle for three years at Alabama before moving to LG as a senior. The Eagles were giving Mathis right tackle reps in camp before they moved Herremans so this could be an option if Herremans is moved to left tackle.
This certainly puts a dent in the Eagles hopes this year but it shouldn’t end them. The Eagles have options and I’m sure they’ll get by. Just look at the injuries the 2010 Packers and the 2011 Giants had and they ended up winning the superbowl. Keep the faith folks.