Wisniewski Has Eyes On Starting Spot
New Eagles offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski made it clear that the market for his services proved a bit disappointing this offseason.
Last year about 20 teams reached out to express interest, he said, and the Penn State product ended up leaving the Raiders and taking a one-year deal worth $2.5 million with the Jaguars. This year the number of teams originally in play was closer to 10. He chose not to re-up with the Jaguars because “they were kind of low-balling me to be honest” and ultimately chose the Eagles over his hometown Steelers, opting again to go with the one-year contract (terms have not yet been disclosed) in hopes of a better free-agent fate this time next year.
“It’s been tough,” he acknowledged. “I was certainly hoping to sign a long-term deal for some good money and thought I had played well enough to deserve that and a lot of people did, but it just kind of didn’t work out.”
He cited the coaching staff and the very “winnable” NFC East division as reasons why he decided to sign in Philly, though opportunity to snag a starting role undoubtedly had something to do with it.
The Eagles should certainly be getting a motivated player in Wisniewski, who has started 77 games over five NFL seasons and had the third-highest pass-blocking efficiency among centers last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s spent most of his time in the pros at the center position, but did play guard his rookie season with the Raiders and in college as well. He’ll be putting much of his effort over the next several weeks and months getting comfortable at guard once again, as that appears to be his best chance of cracking the starting lineup. The left guard spot in particular seems like one that can be had.
“It certainly seems there’s an opening there, and I’ll compete — wherever I can play, wherever I can get on the field is fine whether it’s left guard, center, right guard, tackle,” he said. “I really don’t care.”
The 27-year-old Wisniewski said he typically plays at around 305-310 pounds and doesn’t anticipate he’ll need to change weight to make the switch. It’ll be more about getting comfortable with the footwork and other technical aspects of the position — all while learning Doug Pederson‘s offense. But it didn’t sound like Wisniewski, whose father and uncle played in the NFL, is particularly concerned about picking it up. He fully plans on claiming a starting spot — wherever that might be.
“I’ve always been a starter,” he said. “I certainly don’t intend to be a backup at this point.”