Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks is coming off an Achilles injury he suffered in mid-January and it’s unclear if he’ll be ready to start the 2019 season. Assuming Brooks will miss some game(s), the Eagles might have to start Matt Pryor or one of their undrafted rookie free agent guards in his stead. That’s not exactly ideal.
Even if Brooks’ backup options do pan out, the interior offensive line depth is still looking thin. What happens if Jason Kelce gets hurt? Starting left guard Isaac Seumalo will likely slide over to center, and that’s fine, but then who’s starting in place of Seumalo? Or what if it’s Seumalo getting hurt? At that point, the Eagles could be starting Pryor and a UDFA guard ... or two UDFA guards.
It’s been suggested that the Eagles could have one of their tackles shift inside to guard. Doug Pederson firmly shut down the idea of 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard moving inside, so we won’t see that happen. Pederson also seemed lukewarm (at best) on moving Halapoulivaati Vaitai and/or Jordan Mailata.
So, what’s the plan to get more offensive line help?
It seems like the Eagles might already have one. It’s worth noting that Philadelphia still hasn’t given out Stefen Wisniewski’s old No. 61 jersey despite having 90 players on the roster. This doesn’t seem like a mere matter of coincidence considering the Eagles have several players sharing jersey numbers in the range for offensive and defensive linemen. Four different numbers are being worn by two players each: No. 64, No. 66, No. 74, and No. 78.
It would not be unprecedented for the Eagles to hold on to a jersey number in advance of re-signing them later on. Philadelphia did this last year with Corey Graham’s No. 24.
Wisniewski has been a free agent ever since the Eagles declined to pick up his 2019 option (worth $3.7 million) back in March. The Jets and Vikings were rumored to be interested in him but he’s still on the market so that interest must not have been very serious.
It’s possible another team jumps into the mix for Wisniewski now that signing him won’t impact their compensatory pick formula. It’s also possible no one is offering him what he wants so his best bet could be to return to Philly on a one-year deal that’s worth less than the $3.7 million he was originally set to make.
I’d think there’s reluctance on Wisniewski’s end to return to Philly since he felt his benching last season wasn’t performance-related. That could explain why we haven’t seen the reunion happen just yet.
At some point, though, both the Eagles and Wis could realize they need each other. Keeping No. 61 open doesn’t necessarily guarantee he’ll be back ... but it does at least seem to indicate that the door hasn’t been closed shut.
Should the Eagles re-sign Stefen Wisniewski?
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