Jason Peters has rare chance to retire an Eagle

Jason Peters has rare chance to retire an Eagle

February 26, 2014, 3:15 pm
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Jason Peters signed a four-year extension with the Eagles Wednesday. (USA Today Images)

JASON PETERS' CAREER ACCOLADES

  • 6-time Pro Bowler (2007-11, 2013)
  • 2-time first-team All-Pro (2011, 13)
  • 3-time second-team All-Pro (2007-08, 2010)
  • Runner-up, NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2013)

They all eventually leave.

All of them.

Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Jeremiah Trotter, Corey Simon, Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins, Seth, Clyde, Randall.

Other than a few guys whose careers ended with injuries – Chad Lewis, Leonard Weaver, Mike Bartrum – no Eagle in a generation has made a Pro Bowl team and then remained here through the end of his career.

Jason Peters wants to be the guy to end that.

“It feels wonderful just knowing that you’re in one spot and you’re going to be one of the first Eagles [in years] to retire here,” Peters said. “It feels good.”

The last Eagle Pro Bowler to finish his career here without going to another team was Mike Quick, whose final season here was 1990.

Peters, who was due to become a free agent after the 2014 season, on Tuesday signed a four-year contract extension that runs through 2018 (see story) and adds about $41 million in new money to his existing deal and includes $19½ million in guaranteed components.

According to a league source familiar with details of the contract, Peters will earn $2 million in base salary in 2014 – down from the $9.65 million he was originally due – but he’ll earn two bonuses this summer totaling $10 million, the second of which is due on July 1.

The remaining $9.55 million in guaranteed money will be paid in 2015 and 2016, significantly more in 2015 than 2016. That means the Eagles could conceivably cut Peters after 2015 or 2016 with little cap hit.

For now, the deal clears about $2 million in cap space for the Eagles.

Peters turned 32 last month. At the end of this contract, he’ll be 36.

Peters is a six-time Pro Bowl pick and two-time first-team all-pro. He’s made the Pro Bowl every year that he’s played since 2007 and was a first-team all-pro this past season after missing 2012 following two surgeries to repair Achilles ruptures.

“Jason is cut from a different cloth,” said Dallas-based agent Vincent Taylor, who negotiated the deal with Eagles general manager Howie Roseman.

“He’s a generational player. Once every 20 years, you get a guy that’s that size, that athleticism, that football IQ, that work ethic, and the Eagles felt it would be good to change the trend.

“There have been tons of guys that have come here that have been all-pro, Pro Bowl players that didn’t necessarily retire here. We just wanted to make Jason feel like he was the prototype to [change] that process.”

Forget the injuries. This is an unprecedented deal for any offensive lineman in his early 30s.

Taylor said he was told by the NFLPA that Peters is the first offensive lineman 32 or older to to receive as much guaranteed money as Peters got.

“I want to say I’m a special exception,” Peters said. “I want to say I’m the first [Eagle] -- I’m not sure -- to get a contract like this because usually they don’t do it. You play the contract out, sometimes [they re-sign], sometimes they don’t.”

Peters is an exception to a lot of rules. If anybody can play at an all-pro level into their mid-30s, it’s him.

“I think so and they obviously think so, and they wouldn’t have given me the contract if they didn’t, and I’m going to definitely live up to it,” Peters said at the NovaCare Complex Wednesday afternoon.

“I guess they didn’t want to risk losing me, and I didn’t want to go anywhere and I let them know that, and we got it done.”

A few offensive linemen have played at a Pro Bowl level into their mid-30s – guys like Jeff Saturday, Kevin Mawae, Bruce Matthews and Randall McDaniel.

Roseman conceded that signing a 32-year-old with a recent history of two Achilles ruptures is unusual and a risk.

But the notion of trying to replace Peters after next year gave the Eagles motivation to try to get something done now.

“Unique situation,” Roseman said. “We talk about rewarding excellence, and what kind of bigger statement can you make that Jason Peters and what he’s done the level of play he’s at.

“When you watch the tape, you see a guy who’s dominating his position. ... So you go, 'Where are you going to be a year from now?’ And what are your options a year from now and what kind of statement are you making to your team now as opposed to a year from now, and it just fits into our plan and what we’re trying to do here.

“There’s risk there, but we’d certainly rather take the risk on a guy that we know. We know how he fits in rather than someone from outside.”

Peters’ unique characteristics at 32 years old made this a complicated negotiation.

“One of the biggest hurdles getting over,” Taylor said. “Had nothing to work off of.”

Peters’ story truly is a unique one.

He came to the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent tight end with a $5,000 bonus, and now he’s on track to potentially be a Hall of Fame offensive tackle.

“A whole lot of weight off my shoulders just knowing that I’m going to be here, be in Philly,” Peters said. “I love it here from Day 1 when coach [Andy] Reid brought me here. I’m ready to go to battle for Chip [Kelly], and I’m with him for the next five years.

“I love Philly. I love the organization. I thank Big Red (Reid) for even bringing me here, getting me out of Buffalo.”