Doug Pederson to continue as play-caller, but will evaluate his season

Doug Pederson to continue as play-caller, but will evaluate his season

After Sunday’s season finale against the Cowboys finished up, head coach Doug Pederson revealed a little bit of news. 

He’ll be calling the offensive plays again in 2017. 

“I will, yes,” he said. “I will for sure.”

This past season was the first for Pederson as a full-time play-caller. He was given some play-calling responsibility in Kansas City in 2015 with Andy Reid, but wasn’t the only guy. In his first year as head coach, it was pretty much all on him, although he made sure to point out on Sunday that he had plenty of help. 

And before the season started, Pederson changed his first convoluted system for getting the play calls into Wentz, which would have gone from him to offensive coordinator Frank Reich and then to Wentz. Pederson was confused by the number of channels he would be allowed on his headset. 

Once he was set straight, Pederson streamlined the process and called the plays directly into Wentz himself, which seemed to work. That’s the way the Eagles plan on doing things going forward. 

Wentz thought Pederson’s play-calling and his approach to play-calling was similar all year. But that wasn’t what he really liked about Pederson’s play-calling. 

“One thing I always appreciated with Coach Pederson was he valued my input, even as a rookie,” Wentz said. “He valued my opinion on things. I thought that was awesome, I thought that was awesome for me. And I thought he did a good job.” 

While Wentz thought Pederson did a good job calling the plays during the 2016 season, fans weren’t so forgiving. At times, Pederson’s calls were brought into question. 

But he was pretty consistent throughout the year, remaining very aggressive. 

“Again, as I mentioned during the week, I'll evaluate my play-calling,” Pederson said Sunday. “I've got to balance between managing the game offense, defense, special teams to actually calling the offense. I get a lot of help. It's not like I'm doing this by myself. Frank has done a great job with me. He's constantly in my ear. He's constantly throwing ideas.

“(Offensive line coach) Jeff Stoutland is constantly throwing the run game at me, so it's not like I'm doing this by myself. I've got a great staff on offense, and we're constantly dialoguing. Even though I'm the one calling the actual play, there's a lot of dialogue on the sideline as to what we need to be calling.”

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

This isn't a big surprise, but Jason Peters will be back with the Eagles -- big salary and all -- for the 2017 season.

While the Eagles approached the veteran left tackle about his contract in January, Peters has not restructured his deal, according to a league source. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Thursday morning reported that Peters will be back next season on his normal contract. 

Yes, Peters is expensive in 2017. His base salary after hitting another Pro Bowl escalator written into his contract is up to $10.45 million for next season (plus a $250K workout bonus), which comes with a big cap hit of $11.7 million. That cap hit is the highest on the team, but not outlandish for a high-caliber left tackle. 

The Eagles could have very well cut Peters and moved on. It would have saved them significant cap space to use elsewhere. They just wouldn't have found any player more valuable to pay with that money. 

Peters, 35, is still their best option to protect Carson Wentz's blind side. He made his ninth Pro Bowl in 2016 after playing all 16 games. The team hasn't been shy about wanting him back and Peters toward the end of the season said he wanted to return for another year. 

"We certainly want to have him back," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said of Peters in early January.

“I love him. I want him on the team,” head coach Doug Pederson said with two games remaining this past season. “I don’t want him to go anywhere."

With Peters back, it means Lane Johnson's eventual trip to left tackle will be held off for another year. Eventually, he'll take over that spot … just not right now. 

During the season, Peters opened up about his future, saying he hopes Wentz can be the guy who finally gets him a Super Bowl ring (see story).

Eagles Mailbag: Restructuring Barwin, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce's importance

Eagles Mailbag: Restructuring Barwin, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce's importance

We answered half of your questions in the first mailbag this week (see story)

But there are plenty more to go. 

With free agency just around the corner, let's not waste any time jumping into today's questions: 

I don't think so. 

Yeah, moving on from Connor Barwin is going to be tough. He's a great guy and has been a tremendous asset in the community. His foundation is amazing. But on the field, his production dropped while his price tag soared. That's a problem. 

Barwin has said publicly that he'd be willing to take a pay cut to stay in Philly. He's a smart guy and knew there's no way the Eagles are going to keep him around with an $8.35 million cap hit, especially when they can save $7.75 million of that if they cut him. ... So maybe they would keep him at a reduced rate. There's logic in that, but it's time to move on. I don't think Barwin would really want to stay for the pay cut it would probably take. 

Right now, Barwin is blocking Vinny Curry from seeing significant playing time. And while Curry didn't have a good year in 2016, he's getting paid a lot, so it's time to see if he can live up to that contract. 

And for Barwin, while he loves Philly and has made this his home, he deserves to be in a defense that fits him better.

I'm a little surprised more haven't come already. To me, this likely means the Eagles are trying to exhaust any trade options first. Why cut a guy if you can get some kind of return, even a late-round or conditional pick? 

There's no real harm in waiting right now, and maybe the team will find a trade partner for one of their players on the chopping block. 

I always like these hypotheticals from Drew. Basically, I'd keep the youngest and most-talented players:

Carson Wentz, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Jordan Hicks, Malcolm Jenkins. 

Wentz, Cox and Johnson were pretty easy. Then I really struggled. Jenkins is the oldest guy on the list, but he's so important to the team. I left off Brandon Graham and Zach Ertz and Brandon Brooks and Jordan Matthews, which I'm not so sure about. This was harder than I anticipated. 

I guess you're talking about Allen Barbre's hamstring injury. Yeah, barring something I don't know about, he should be completely healed and ready to go. 

Here's something to think about, though: Barbre will be 33 when the 2017 season starts and I wouldn't put him down in pen as the starter at left guard next year. If Jason Kelce is still on the team, he'll be the center, but why not let Isaac Seumalo battle for the left guard job? 

If Seumalo wins the spot, then Barbre is still a relatively inexpensive and really good backup option. 

I honestly think Jason Kelce is better than most fans in this city think. People see him get blown up a few times in a year — really blown up — and think he's an awful player. He's not. No, he can't go 1-on-1 with nose tackles, but he's still great at getting downfield and into the second level. 

And then there's the importance of the center. I don't know exactly how important he is in terms of calling the shots on the line, but he didn't miss a single snap in 2016. I know cutting or trading Kelce would save significant cap space, but I wouldn't do it. The Eagles have shown they'll do whatever it takes to develop Wentz; I think keeping his veteran center for a second year would help.