Eagles Wake-Up Call: Lane Johnson Fallout
By now, you’ve heard about the NFL’s expected suspension of Lane Johnson. Here’s what we know:
- Johnson tested positive for peptide, he told Jay Glazer, which is a banned substance. Johnson contends he took an approved amino acid.
- Johnson has not been suspended yet, according to his agent, as he is still waiting on test results for the ‘B’ sample.
- If Johnson is suspended, it will be for 10 games because he has already been suspended for PEDs once before. Johnson missed the first four games of 2014, a suspension triggered by adderall usage, Alex Marvez reported.
- If Johnson were to appeal a potential suspension, the odds would not be in his favor. However, a reversal wouldn’t be completely without precedent. The circumstances are different, but Texans tackle Duane Brown won an appeal in April after he faced a 10-game suspension by proving he ate a lot of meat in Mexico, which reportedly can be contamined by clenbuterol, a substance banned by the NFL.
- Although the Eagles signed Johnson to a five-year deal in January that included a reported $35.5 million in guarantees, most — if not all — of the guaranteed money would be voided if he’s suspended. Les Bowen of the Daily News explains:
Johnson signed a five-year, $56 million contract extension this offseason. ESPN’s Field Yates reported that Johnson’s guarantees, after the $10 million he has already received, would be voided if he had indeed tested positive again. This could amount to about $25 million, but that doesn’t mean Johnson would lose the money if he remained under contract – it would mean that if the Eagles cut him, he wouldn’t get it.
Johnson’s base salary this year, after the signing bonus, is just $675,000, so he would lose ten-seventeenths of that to a 10-game suspension. (There are 17 payment weeks in the season, including the bye.) More significant is that he also would lose ten-seventeenths of the $5 million 2016 proration of his signing bonus.
However, what we don’t know may be more interesting. Here are some unanswered questions we’ll try to figure out in the coming days:
When will this be resolved?
There is no set timetable for these types of situations, but it seems like something all parties would want resolved by the regular season. Who knows if that will actually happen, though. It will be very interesting to see if the Eagles let Johnson play in their first preseason game on Thursday night against the Buccaneers. The team could keep him in the starting unit because there’s no official suspension yet, but it’s also possible they’d want someone else to start getting first-team reps with the regular season not too far away if they believe Johnson will miss most of the year.
Who would replace Johnson?
It will likely be Matt Tobin, the team’s backup left tackle; Dennis Kelly, the team’s backup right tackle; or Allen Barbre, the starting left guard who could move out to tackle while Stefen Wisniewski takes over at guard. Even if Johnson doesn’t play Thursday, we still won’t definitively know who will take his spot. With Jason Peters out, Tobin will start at left tackle, and the team may want to conclusively know Johnson’s fate before moving Barbre around in the starting lineup.
How much will this hurt the Eagles?
This also isn’t an easy question to answer, but it’s the one that ultimately matters the most. Losing Johnson for 10 games would obviously be a blow to the Birds, especially when you consider Jason Peters may miss time at some point this season, too. If Peters is out, how comfortable do you feel with some type of combination of Tobin, Kelly and Barbre protecting your injury-prone quarterback? If Peters can stay healthy, however, moving Barbre over and Wisniewski into the starting lineup wouldn’t be devastating. It would be a noticeable drop-off, but I don’t think it’s one that would significantly alter the Eagles’ record. If Peters can’t stay healthy, Johnson’s absence would have a compounding effect and really be a burden for the Birds.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Lane Johnson will reportedly be suspended 10 games for testing positive for PEDs a second time.
Some photos from Monday’s practice courtesy of Jeff Fusco.
Mychal Kendricks, Wendell Smallwood, and eight others will miss the first preseason game.
“I just don’t see the decision-making, consistent accuracy and the fortitude that [makes me think] we have a shot to win every Sunday.” What They’re Saying.
“There’s nothing that I’ve seen that makes me think he’s not going to be the quarterback of the future and the guy I thought he’d be.” Mike Mayock talks about Carson Wentz.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The Birds are active in the trade market.
Several teams calling around looking for TEs. Eagles have been trying to find an inside LB via trade. Things will intensify in few weeks
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 10, 2016
Rodney McLeod and rookie Blake Countess have plenty in common besides going to rival high schools, writes Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com.
Their ties to the same area are just where the similarities start. Both also began their college careers as corners before moving to safety. Both have spent some time playing in the slot. And most notably, both have earned reputations as hard-hitters despite their small stature.
McLeod has that reputation in the NFL. Countess hopes to build his own and is off to a good start at his first training camp.
“That was part of his résumé,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said about Countess. “You’re right, he’s not the biggest guy in the world. But there’s a lot of safeties that aren’t big. Rodney McLeod is not that big. Rodney’s not eating peanuts off of Blake’s head.
“Every time he’s out here, you guys know, does Rodney look small when he’s out here? Uh-uh. It’s all about your positioning, your leverage, your toughness, those things. I think Blake has those.”
Whistle Sports and Wawa teamed up with Brent Celek and put him undercover for a morning.
One more day until the first Eagles game of the season.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.