Eagles All-Pro Addresses State of Offensive Line

Lane Johnson

Getty Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson is sick and tired of being disrespected in the NFL rankings.

The idea that Lane Johnson is the best right tackle in football is not a new one. The best tackle, period … interesting.

Johnson made headlines on Thursday for reportedly restructuring his contract to create cap space in Philly. He converted his base salary into a signing bonus to create more than $5 million in extra money so the Eagles could give Jason Peters a pay bump to play left tackle.

These kinds of good deeds aren’t uncommon in the NFL and rarely go unnoticed. Of course, it helps when the best center in football — is that even arguable at this point? — confirms it and applauds it.

“We’re all just happy that everything was able to work out,” Eagles center Jason Kelce told reporters on Thursday. “Lane was able to rework his deal and free up some money and make it an easier process, which isn’t unheard of. I think that happens quite a bit, really just happy that the big man is out there at left tackle and ready to go and everyone feels good about that, for sure.”

Johnson inked a four-year, $72 million deal ($18 million per year) last November to make him the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL. He’ll now earn a base salary of $1.05 million in 2020, including a restructured bonus of $6.7 million, per Spotrac.

The unselfish right tackle is worth every penny, according to Kelce, and so is the entire Eagles’ offensive line.

“Lane Johnson, probably the best tackle in the league right now, especially on the right side,” Kelce said. “Jason Peters is a future Hall of Famer, Isaac Seumalo in my opinion, is one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the league. Matt Pryor did a phenomenal job stepping in last season and really didn’t slow us down offensively. Nate Herbig has had a really good camp. Jack Driscoll, the rookie, has looked really, really solid.”

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Injuries, Not Concern for Eagles’ Offensive Line

The one thing the Eagles have been over the Doug Pederson era is resilient. The next man up mentality is real. Despite losing two starters — left tackle Andre Dillard and right guard Brandon Brooks — there are no concerns that the best offensive line in the league won’t be hitting on all cylinders on Sept. 13. It’s not in their nature.

“We’ve really shuffled things around, even when Jason [Peters] was at right guard so that’s part of the reason why we’re always ready for different scenarios,” Kelce said. “We’re always working guys in during the game week.”

The Eagles will likely start Matt Pryor at right guard after asking Peters to switch back to left tackle. The team may be forced to start Nate Herbig or Jack Driscoll at right tackle if Johnson is out on Sunday. The three-time Pro Bowler missed another practice on Thursday with a worrisome ankle injury. Rest assured, the young guys are capable.

“[Jordan] Mailata has looked good … so we got some good things going,” Kelce said. “We’re already two guys down with Brooks and Dillard going down. I feel pretty confident with the guys we got.”

Don’t forget Peters, aka The Bodyguard. Heading into his 17th NFL season, the 38-year-old shows no sign of slowing down. The brief experiment at right guard only made him better, more versatile. Extra reps at left tackle? Peters had plenty, according to Kelce.

“Jason Peters could probably go out there and kick-slide froem a left-handed stance out at left tackle in his sleep at this point,” Kelce said. “I don’t know what the rep counts look like on that but I do feel good that’s he’s going to get a whole week to reacclimate himself but in the grand scheme of things, that was plenty for Jason Peters.”

Kelce would know. The All-Pro center is the heartbeat of the Eagles, a future Hall of Famer in his own right. Not even a global pandemic can stop that pulse from beating.

“Obviously there’s been less time to prepare,” Kelce said. “I still feel like we’ve goten a lot of work in and feel pretty good about things but obviously we’ll find all that out on Sunday.”

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