Philadelphia Eagles: Can Jason Peters last a full season with the Bears?

Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

When the 2020 NFL season officially, mercifully came to an end, Jason Peters looked cooked.

Now, to be fair to “the bodyguard,” that isn’t all on him. After initially being informed that his services were no longer necessary earlier in the offseason, Peters was re-signed by the Philadelphia Eagles to play right guard before being kicked back to left tackle, if only for a few games, as part of an ever-changing offensive line.

So naturally, with Jordan Mailata locked into place on a four-year extension and Andre Dillard back from a torn biceps that cost him the entire 2020 season, Peters could sit back and enjoy retirement as one of the most beloved athletes in Philadelphia history.

… or he could sign with the Chicago Bears and try to extend his incredible career into its 18th year. That’s an option too.

Jason Peters probably should have retired with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021.

Heading into the 2021 NFL season, the Chicago Bears thought they had a pretty solid plan in place to address their left tackle positions.

Sans long-time left tackle Charles Leno for the first time since 2014 – who was released back in March to save money – the Bears used two of their top-three draft picks on collegiate left tackles, selecting Teven Jenkins out of Oklahoma State 39th overall and Larry Borom out of Missouri 123 picks later.

Would either player rise to the level of Leno’s prime back in 2018, when the former seventh-round pick earned a spot in the Pro Bowl? Who could know, but after watching the ex-Boise State Bronco give up five sacks and seven total penalties over 16 games, one of the two could certainly fill the role well enough for a fraction of the price.

Except that didn’t happen, or hasn’t happened yet anyway, as Jenkins suffered a back injury that sent him to IR on September 1st, with an option to return later this season if possible.

This injury, when coupled with Borom’s much less polished nature as a prospect, created a perfect storm for Jason Peters to sign and start for the Bears right away at his native left tackle spot, re-pairing up with former offensive line coach Juan Castillo for the first time since the Andy Reid-era of Philadelphia Eagles football.

But unfortunately for Peters, his reunion with Castillo hasn’t resulted in the same level of production he experienced in his South Philly prime, at least not through the first week of the season.

Facing off against the Los Angeles Rams for the first time since Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season, Peters allowed an early sack/forced fumble in the very same play by 2019 fifth-round pick Justin Hollins and was replaced 32 snaps into the game first by Borom and then by veteran journeyman Elijah Wilkinson, who appears to be the favorite to start in Week 2; especially if Peters and Borom are still out with a quad and ankle injury, respectively.

If that happens, will Peters be happy to simply spend what could be his final NFL season on the bench? Or could the two parties agree to a continuous de-coupling that allows Peters to seek employment elsewhere, whether back in Philadelphia or not?

Needless to say, this situation is one worth monitoring if you still have a special place in your heart for old number 71.

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In a way, I sort of feel back for Jason Peters. Despite having earned well over $100 million over the course of his career, most of which came with the Philadelphia Eagles, Peters had to watch from the sideline as his team recorded a thunderous win in Super Bowl 52 off the arm of Nick Foles and a strip-sack by another long-time fan favorite, Brandon Graham. Had Peters been in that game at left tackle in place of Halapoulivaati Vaitai – remember him? – he may already be happily enjoying retirement instead of having to face down speedy edge rushers at the ripe old age of 39.