The Eagles on Wednesday signed their All-Pro left tackle to a contract through the 2018 campaign. Jason Peters was all smiles as he met the media at the NovaCare Complex and explained how he felt about the new deal, one that he hopes ends with him walking off the field for the final time in his NFL career as an Eagle.
"It's a great feeling for me to have this," said Peters, who has been selected to six Pro Bowls in his career and has been named an All-Pro player four times, "knowing I'll be an Eagle for the next five years, which will make 10 years for me here, and probably retire as an Eagle.
"It feels wonderful, being in one spot and knowing that I could be one of the first Eagles to retire here, it feels good."
General manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles put in a lot of time to get the deal done with Peters and his representatives. The talks started last offseason. The Eagles think Peters has a lot of outstanding football remaining and they think he's part of an offensive line that has its key pieces in place.
Roseman, as he met the media, mentioned the idea that someday, possibly, Peters could be a "Hall of Fame-caliber" player, and who is to argue with that? He is the perfect blend of natural athletic ability, toughness and work ethic.
For a franchise that has had some great ones, Peters ranks among those at the top of the list with the best tackles in Eagles history.
Want a list? It's a strong one – although if you've loved the Eagles long enough, you know how difficult it has been at times to find excellence at left tackle as the names Bernard Williams and Antone Davis and Matt Darwin and Broderick Thompson and Ron Heller and Barrett Brooks and others jump to mind.
The best of the best list, of Eagles tackles on either side of the line of scrimmage, is impressive. Here are some of the names.
- Bob Brown played right tackle for five seasons as an Eagle after the team made him the second overall pick in the 1964 draft. He made All Pro in each of those seasons and was named a Pro Bowl player three times before the Eagles traded him to the Rams. Brown played five more seasons with the Rams and Raiders and was outstanding. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Brown has been considered the best offensive lineman in Eagles history. He was all brute force during that era, but he also had the feet to handle speed in the pass-rush game.
"I think Bob Brown was probably the most dominant offensive tackle I've seen paly for the Eagles. He had three really, really good years and hurt his knee," said Ray Didinger, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and an Eagles historian. "He came back and wasn't the same player and then was traded the next year. In 1965-67, he was the best tackle the Eagles have ever had, at least in my view. But he hurt his knee in a game against New Orleans and then wasn't the same player and then the Eagles traded him. In those three years, he was the best offensive linemen in the NFL."
- The Eagles acquired Stan Walters in a trade in 1975 and Walters solidified the left tackle position through 1983. He was more of a tactician than a dominating player, and Didinger feels that Walters ranks just below Brown and Peters. "As much as I like Stan, I would put Jason ahead of Stan. Jason is physically dominating in a way Stan wasn't. Stan was a terrific pass rusher and a better-than-average run blocker. Jason is really good at both. As a pass blocker, Jason is a little bit better as a pass blocker but he is clearly better and more powerful as a run blocker."
- It's impossible to mention Walters without talking about his bookend, Jerry Sisemore. A first-round draft pick in 1973, Sisemore played until 1984 with the Eagles and made a pair of Pro Bowls. He was Texas tough, playing in 127 consecutive games, and his mentality rubbed off on an Eagles team that came together when head coach Dick Vermeil arrived in Philadelphia.
- Tra Thomas ended a struggling era at left tackle when the Eagles made him their first-round draft pick in 1998 and then went on to have a fine career here. Thomas made the Pro Bowl three times and was a rock at left tackle, with Jon Runyan right there among the best right tackles in the history of the franchise. Thomas had great feet, a strong punch and he was outstanding as a pass blocker.
- The Eagles acquired Peters in a trade with Buffalo in 2009. The team spent a long time watching Peters, who was a raw talent in college as a tight end. His athletic ability was exceptional. But not until he played in the NFL, starting in Buffalo and now in Philadelphia, did Peters find his position and then blossom like few others have ever done.
"Peters is really exceptional," said Didinger. "At his best, as he is playing now after recovering from his Achilles tendon injury and much the same as Bob Brown, Jason is the best lineman in football. The way he collapses the line, and the nimble feet he has and the way he physically dominates defensive linemen is extraordinary. The combination of size and strength with his athletic ability is something special."
Peters is here to stay and play his game and give the Eagles something special on one edge of the line. He and Lane Johnson, the team's first-round draft pick last year, give the offense a pair of athletic, hard-working and highly-skilled players on the edge of the line of scrimmage.