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Never count out Jason Peters

A 35 year old got a contract extension and no one complained

NFL: Preseason-Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s becoming a yearly ritual: the offseason hits, we wonder how much Jason Peters has left in the tank, call for the Eagles to address offensive tackle in the draft so that they will be prepared when it’s time to move on, then the season happens and Peters plays great, then the offseason hits and we start all over again. And it looks like we’ll be doing this for at least another year, as Peters’ contract extension means he isn’t going anywhere in 2018.

Jason Peters is the Lazarus Man.

Jeff Stoutland said that 2016 was Peters’ best season under him, which we should take with a bit of salt because coaches don’t usually parse statements like “best” or “one of the best” but he’s right, Peters was excellent last year. He’s still one of the better left tackles in the league, and his new contract makes him a bargain.

Great players typically have long careers, and at 35 and still playing at a high level, Peters certainly has longevity going for him. Which leads to a funny scenario: if he plays out his full contract, there’s a decent chance that Lane Johnson, who will have two years left on his current deal in 2020, might get a new contract. (Johnson would be 30 and has no guaranteed money, so at the least he’d ask for one.) Wouldn’t that be something, Jason Peters effectively playing through his replacement’s contract extension. Never count him out.

Four Downs

1 Chicken and the egg

OTAs are always misleading as the players aren’t in pads, new players are learning a new playbook and rookies are also beginning to adjust to a new league. On every team, every year, a handful of players stand out in May and June and then in August they fizzle. And then, kind of like with Jason Peter’s theoretical inevitable drop off, we wonder what happened.

Sometimes, like the Eagles WRs and CBs this summer, it’s a chicken and egg scenario. Have the Eagles DBs, which have been a second year player (Jalen Mills), a journeyman veteran (Patrick Robinson) and a mid-round rookie (Rasul Douglas) looked good because they’re actually good? That’s possible, for Mills CBs generally take a big step in year two, for Robinson it’s not that hard to believe he’s better than Nolan Carroll or Leodis McKelvin, and for Douglas he was a good prospect. Or is it because they’re going up against two receivers who totaled 56 receptions last year? It’s a low bar to impress opposite Nelson Agholor, and until we see him in real action Torrey Smith is a question mark. Or is it because it’s just June and it’s meaningless practice? Really it’s some combination of all three. Beyond that someone looks encouraging, take everything with a grain of salt.

2 Na Brown Award Watch is boring… thankfully

He’s not eligible, but Nelson Agholor is making the kind of waves that gets a player a meaningless award for meaningless play. Oh well. Also ineligible but making a name for himself this summer is his coach, Mike Groh. After Greg Lewis, who was unqualified for the job last year, experience and competency is going to stand out. Kind of like the players too.

Aaron Grymes is making some waves, which as a 2nd year player adjusting from the CFL, is somewhat expected. Donnel Pumphrey has also stood out, in part because the team is lining him up everywhere to get him the ball. But everyone expects him to be a regular contributor, so he’s not the kind of player the award is for. Mostly it’s been a quiet summer for the back of the roster. That might be a good thing. The better your team is, the fewer opportunities there are for back of the roster guys to stand out. And while they aren’t perfect, the Eagles are a more talented team than they were last season.

3 Torrey Smith fandom: rising

4 “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is today (actually it’s already started) and that reminds me of the phrase “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” That’s useful at times to remind us that goals are long term and that it’s not over until it’s over—which Toyota learned the hard way last year when with literally five minutes to go the car in the lead didn’t finish—but these days it’s not quite accurate. It is a sprint and a marathon, from everyone hard charging at the Circuit de la Sarthe to 16 weeks of NFL teams “taking it one game at a time.”

An NFL season is just 16 games. Careers can last just three years, both for players and head coaches. Everyone might be sprinting, but they’ve got a marathon to cover.

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