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Eagles have oldest offensive line in the NFL, for now

Surprise, surprise.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice recently released his annual offensive line age study. To no surprise, the Philadelphia Eagles have the oldest line in the NFL at an average age of 29.6. The Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders are tied for the next closest at 28.2.

Last year, the Eagles had the second oldest lineup in the NFL at an average age of 29.0 years old. Only the New England Patriots ranked higher at 29.2.

Kempski notes that the Eagles have the oldest projected starting offensive lineman: left guard Evan Mathis. Meanwhile, left tackle Jason Peters is the third oldest and Allen Barbre is the 17th oldest.

These facts explain why the Eagles offensive line has been such a hot topic this offseason. Despite getting older and older, Philadelphia still has not drafted an offensive lineman since selecting Lane Johnson at No. 4 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Eagles experienced a number of offensive line injuries in 2014 and the unit's increasing age is doing nothing to calm concern about decline and/or injury.

With that said, there isn't really a need to panic (yet). If Philadelphia's starter can stay healthy, their line should still arguably be one of the better units in the NFL. The depth might be a little better than expected as well.

There's also a chance the Eagles' lineup gets a little younger before the season even starts. While Barbre is likely favored to start, it doesn't seem impossible that Andrew Gardner and/or Matt Tobin could compete for the job. Gardner is 29 so that wouldn't make a huge difference. But then there's the Mathis trade situation. If the team moves him and replaces him with Tobin, the average age would go down to 27.8, which ranks tied for fifth. Still old, but not the oldest.

Once again, the most concerning aspect of the Eagles' aging offensive line involves the team's eventual replacement plan. As of now, there are really no obvious linemen waiting in the wings to be future starters. Tobin might be one of those guys but he needs to earn it. Philadelphia will essentially be forced to address the position in free agency and/or next year's NFL Draft.

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