The Philadelphia Eagles begin their 2017 training camp on Monday, July 24. Bleeding Green Nation is already breaking down the Philadelphia Eagles roster in a position preview series, but we're also going to be running a countdown series that's more geared towards unique thematic angles. We continue that series by taking a look at the veteran players on Philadelphia's roster. Previously: [The New Players]
Longest Tenured Eagle
Long snapper Jon Dorenbos is the team’s tenured player. He signed with the Eagles 11 years ago this November. He’s also the longest tenured Philadelphia pro sports athlete following Ryan Howard’s departure from the Phillies.
It’s unfortunate his streak of consecutive games played fell short of the new franchise record. Dorenbos got hurt last year when a Washington player took a cheap shot at him. He’s healthy now, though, and ready to resume his role at Philadelphia’s long snapper.
The Eagles will be able to rely on some veteran experience as they aim for the playoffs in 2017. 13 players currently on their roster will be 30 or older by the end of the 2017 season.
Two of those players compromise of special teams guys: Dorenbos and Jones. Both veterans signed three-year extensions last fall so they’re not ready to retire just yet. They haven’t shown any signs of needing to be replaced.
The Eagles’ oldest non-STer is the man whose teammates refer to as “Franchise” — Jason Peters. Judging by the eye test, Peters played pretty at a high level in 2016. Pro Football Focus graded him as their ninth best offensive tackle last year. Peters’ efforts were rewarded with a ninth career Pro Bowl berth. The Eagles also signed Peters to a contract extension that gives him more security after this season.
It’s reasonable to be concerned about Peters’ performance as he continues to age. With that said, Peters is not most NFL players. The dude is a freak of nature. If anyone can defy age, it’s him. Questions about Peters’ reliability are overstated. He’s never missed more than three games in a given season aside from the year he suffered (and then unluckily re-injured) an Achilles rupture during an offseason workout.
In addition to being a key player as the protector to Carson Wentz’s blindside, Peters is also an important figure in the locker room. Just watch this video to see what I mean.
The good part about the Eagles’ 2017 season is that it’s another year we get to see Sproles play. He’s such a treat to watch. The bad news is it might be his last year in the NFL. Sproles has previously told people he’s going to retire after this year, though he didn’t close the door entirely. Sproles figures to be a key member of the Eagles’ running back rotation as well as one of the better punt returners in the league.
Barbre was a decent starting left guard last season. PFF actually rated him the 16th best OG. There’s no guarantee he starts this year, however. It seems like second-year blocker Isaac Seumalo is the favorite to start between Peters and Jason Kelce. Barbre did split some first team reps with Seumalo, so there’s some sort of competition going on there, but the younger player has the advantage. The Eagles allowed Barbre to shop himself this offseason, which predictably didn’t amount to anything. It’s possible the Eagles try to trade him before the season. If he sticks around, he could be the first offensive lineman off the bench at any non-center position.
Celek’s role hasn’t changed for a long time. He’s a blocking tight end and nothing more. He had a career-low 19 receptions for only 155 yards and zero touchdowns in 2016.
Long is an interesting addition to the Eagles’ defensive end rotation. The Super Bowl ring-haver projects to be the fourth DE behind Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Vinny Curry. He’s a role-player who also provides veteran depth in case of injury.
Blount is the Eagles’ projected lead back. His workload won’t be as heavy as it was with the Patriots last year, but he’ll still get a lot of touches in 2017. I wrote more about Blount yesterday.
Maragos, like Dorenbos and Jones, signed a three-year extension last year. He’s Philadelphia’s special teams captain and he serves that role well.
Four players currently on the Eagles’ roster will turn 30 during the 2017 season. One of them is Mathews, who is expected to be cut, so the figure is really only three. Two of those players are projected to be starters in the secondary: Jenkins at safety and Robinson at corner. Jenkins is one the league’s better safeties. The Eagles are relying on Robinson as a one-year stop-gap at corner. The remaining player is Kelce, who hasn’t played his best football the past two seasons. There were rumors that the Eagles were planning to move on from their long-time starting center this offseason, but they did not materialize. Kelce is still here.
Last year as an Eagle?
Dorenbos and Jones signed extensions last fall, but given their age it’s still possible they could retire after this year.
Peters turns 36 in January 2018. He said he’s on a year-to-year basis as far as retirement goes, but the extension he signed indicates he plans to play through next year at least.
Sproles might very well be done after this season.
Barbre’s contract is up after this year and will likely be gone. He can be cut/traded before this season for a savings of $2.1 million.
This has to be the last ride for Celek. He can be cut for a savings of $4 million next offseason.
Long could easily stick around for a second season if he proves to be valuable this year. If he’s not, the Eagles can cut him to save $1.95 million next offseason.
I’d be surprised if Blount is around after this season.
30 and Over Club
LS Jon Dorenbos 
P Donnie Jones 
OT Jason Peters 
RB Darren Sproles 
OG Allen Barbre 
TE Brent Celek 
DE Chris Long 
RB LeGarrette Blount 
S Chris Maragos 
Turning 30 during the 2017 season
CB Patrick Robinson in September 
C Jason Kelce in November 
S Malcolm Jenkins in December 
(RB Ryan Mathews in October ) -- Still on the roster but expected to be cut soon.