Reports are stating that the Philadelphia Eagles are looking to move on from Jason Kelce but what does that mean for the rest of the line?
Kelce is an athletic undersized center and it’s pretty clear that he was the weakest link of the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line last season. Kelce excels in setting quick blocks and pulling off to move to the next level which was key in a Chip Kelly offense. In a Doug Pederson offense, Kelce is expected to sustain blocks and due to his lack of strength, it resulted in an inordinate amount of holding penalties.
This doesn’t make Kelce a bad NFL player but it does make him a bad fit for a Doug Pederson offense. But if the Philadelphia Eagles would like to move on from Kelce, it poses two questions. Where does he go? Who replaces him as the starting center?
Thanks to last year’s NFL Draft, the question on who replaces Kelce is pretty easy to answer. Isaac Seumalo is a prototypical Pederson center. While he is also undersized like Kelce, that’s where the similarities end.
Seumalo is a prototypical road grater on the offensive line. He uses leverage well and is able to keep larger defensive linemen at bay without excessive holding. Looking at his tape from Oklahoma State, while Seumalo can also play guard and tackle, center is his best position. Seumalo was also able to get valuable experience against NFL defensive linemen due to injuries to the Philadelphia Eagles line which will better prepare him to step in seamlessly.
What teams would want Kelce?
Kelce is under contract until 2020 but the final two years don’t include guaranteed money. This would make him a viable trade option for other teams since Kelce is essentially under a two-year deal. While he could be cut by the Philadelphia eagles with only a 2.4 million dollar cap hit, it wouldn’t be a wise decision to let Kelce walk for nothing.
Depending on if the Jaguars hire Chip Kelly as their offensive coordinator a reunion with Kelce could be in the cards. Outside of that fit it’s tough to judge what teams may be looking for a center but it doesn’t hurt for the Eagles to shop Kelce and see what may happen. If they plan on cutting him, the team should try to wait until 2018 when the cap savings will be higher.
For next season, unless a team trades for Kelce, he should be the starter with Seumalo waiting in the wings. If Kelce struggles again, then the Philadelphia Eagles should hand the reins over, bench Kelce and cut him during the offseason.