Wake-Up Call: Symbolism In the Peters Signing

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Part of it is just that Jason Peters is a freak.

He’s 32, yes, and he is not too far removed from a double Achilles rupture. Normally, that’s not the type of player you hand a lucrative four-year extension to. But Peters is not normal. He is an athletic phenomenon; a five-time All-Pro rabbit in a bear suit with the makings of a Hall-of-Fame resume.

“This is a unique situation when you are talking about Jason Peters and his level of excellence, his level of play,” said general manager Howie Roseman. “It’s hard to turn on the tape and look at him as a 31-year-old offensive tackle. You look at him and you see him dominate players. He still has upside in his body because of the things that we’re doing and the scheme that we’re in…For us, this is about the player. Jason Peters has defied all odds, and he’s a unique player.”

The fact that the Eagles were willing to hand a 10-year vet $20 million of guaranteed coin speaks mostly to how rare a specimen Peters is.

There is more to the story, though. It highlights the front office’s current way of thinking. They want to take care of their own and reward those who reflect the culture and work ethic that they are trying to establish throughout the program.

“This is a core player for us,” said Roseman. “It’s an important statement to our football team and our players about what we’re going to be about.”

An important  statement to our football team. Doesn’t get much clearer than that.

You also get the sense that the Eagles are not comfortable with their history when it comes to letting their top talent walk in the latter stages of their career. The queasiness is mostly about Brian Dawkins. The way it ended with No. 2o still haunts this organization. Believe that. On a broader level, it’s about separating themselves from a legacy of turning their back on revered figures because their age started with a “3” or they didn’t fit into some mathematical formula.

“I think it negates a lot of commonly-held facts about us: that you hit a certain age and we’re not going to keep you; that if you are paid a certain amount that we’re not willing to pay that to keep you,” said Roseman. “We are going to keep — try to keep, it takes two to tango — our best players and the guys that we feel are a part of our culture and that fit well into the chemistry of our team on and off the field and in the scheme. It’s an important message for us this offseason.”

Again, the word message comes up.

This is primarily about the prowess of Peters. But it’s a symbolic move as well.

“We talked to you guys this offseason about the names on the back of the jersey meaning something,” Roseman said. “When you have a guy like that who has played at this level, has the opportunity to continue to play at this level, you want to keep that guy; you don’t want to see him in another jersey playing at a high level, and your players and your fans and the people upstairs saying, ‘Why aren’t they here anymore?’ It is important for us that we have Eagles — guys that kind of represent our team.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

The latest on Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Kelce. 

Chip Kelly‘s role in the Peters signing.

More details on the Peters deal, including how long the guaranteed money lasts.

A cornerback at 22? Sheil looks at some candidates.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Greg Bedard unveiled 50 of his top 100 projected free agents. He believes Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings and Carolina kicker Graham Gano are fits in Philly.

On Jennings:

Didn’t look the part of a starter last season when given an opportunity. Packers may not tender him at $1.4 million, but he’s flashed some talent. Best fit: Eagles. They need help at safety, and a change of scenery might help him.

And Gano:

Comes off a fantastic season in which he hit 89 percent of his field goals, including all six of 50-plus yards. Even more impressive was his 79.7 percent touchback rate, best in league since 1994. Best fit: Eagles. Alex Henery just wasn’t good enough in any phase.

Who will play slot if Maclin, Cooper and DeSean Jackson are all back? Tommy Lawlor isn’t sweating it.

Kelly’s offense doesn’t use the slot receiver in a standard way. I don’t think a trio of DJax, Mac and Coop would have functioned all that well in Andy Reid’s offense. Kelly uses his receivers differently so the slot guy doesn’t play in traffic and just work the middle of the field. Kelly had Coop and DJax play outside and inside last year.

COMING UP

Get the feeling we’re in for another busy day?

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