The Eagles got the deal done. And to think the draft is still a week away.
In the latest of a series of aggressive off-season moves, the Eagles traded the 28th overall pick, a 2009 fourth-round pick and a 2010 late-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters. To ensure his services, the Eagles inked Peters to a lucrative six-year deal. Even after this bold move, the Eagles still hold the 21st overall pick and a total of 10 selections in next weekend's draft.
"Jason Peters is the best left tackle in football," said head coach Andy Reid. "He is a powerful and athletic tackle and I have admired his play over the last few years on film. I have always believed that success in the National Football League is derived from the strong play of the offensive and defensive lines. This offseason we have added two young, top-flight offensive linemen in Jason and Stacy Andrews."
The 6-4, 340-pound Peters fills the final position on what will be an outstanding offensive line for years to come. With Peters in the fold, the Eagles will likely boast the biggest offensive line in the NFL at an average of 333.6 pounds per starter.
Including the addition of Stacy Andrews in the first weekend of free agency and now Peters, the entire starting offensive line is 28 years old or younger. Peters turned 27 in January and is in the prime of his career. Factor in the return of Shawn Andrews, who was lost for most of the 2008 season after a back injury in September, and the Eagles have added two Pro Bowl linemen in the off-season. The Eagles also outbid a number of other teams for the services of starting fullback Leonard Weaver. On defense, the Eagles bolstered the depth of the safety position with playmakers Sean Jones and Rashad Baker.
The Eagles were able to swing the deal for Peters thanks to a draft-day trade last year with the Carolina Panthers. The Eagles sent their first-round pick to Carolina for a second-round pick, a fourth-round pick and its first-round pick in 2009. In all, the Eagles were able to draft Trevor Laws, Quintin Demps and Mike McGlynn plus acquire Peters thanks to the deal with the Panthers. In addition to the 28th overall pick, the Bills also received Philadelphia's fourth-round pick this year and a sixth-round selection in 2010.
The acquisition of Peters completes an extensive makeover of the offensive line in just one off-season. Despite giving up just 23 sacks and breaking the franchise record for sacks-per-pass play ratio in 2008, the Eagles made upgrading the offensive line a priority. Longtime bookend tackles Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas became unrestricted free agents. Thomas signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, while Runyan is recovering from off-season microfracture surgery.
Peters was a college teammate of Shawn Andrews at Arkansas. Peters, however, did not play on the offensive line. He was a tight end. Originally signed as a rookie free agent in 2004, Peters has also been named second-team All-Pro by The Associated Press twice in his five years with the Bills. He's started 55 of the 65 career games he's played in, with the last 37 at the left tackle position. Peters earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl nomination following the 2008 season, becoming the first Bills offensive lineman to make back-to-back trips to the all-star game since 1993. However, Peters has not played in either Pro Bowl due to injuries.
In the beginning of his career, Peters was a tight end who primarily played on special teams. Peters won the right tackle job from former No. 1 pick Mike Williams and started the final nine games in 2005. Deemed a player on the rise, the Bills inked Peters to a long-term contract extension in 2006. Peters took over the starting left tackle spot in that same season. Following his dominating Pro Bowl campaign of 2007, one in which he began to earn acclaim as one of the premier offensive tackles in all of football, Peters held out for the entirety of training camp and rejoined the team in September just days before the 2008 season opener. Despite playing in a new offense, Peters recovered to make his second consecutive Pro Bowl.
As a pro, Peters has also scored two touchdowns. He blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone against Cincinnati in December 2004. In the season opener of 2005, Peters caught a touchdown pass against the Texans.
A native of Queen City, Texas, Peters left the University of Arkansas after his junior season. He playing in a total of 36 games and caught 28 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns. In 2003, Peters earned All-SEC second-team honors after starting every game at tight end and ranked third on the team with 21 receptions for 218 yards and all four of his scores. Showing a knack for line play, he also delivered 61 knockdowns/key blocks.