One of the best undrafted free agent pickups for Buffalo Bills took place in 2004 when the franchise signed 320-pound tight end, Jason Peters. During his rookie season, the Arkansas alum transitioned to playing offensive tackle under coach Jim McNally and earned two Pro Bowl honors before the team traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles in April 2009.
Over 13 years have passed since the Bills traded Peters, but it’s still regarded as one of the worst moves the front office ever made. Peters went on to earn seven more Pro Bowl honors and a Super Bowl ring in 2018.
After spending last season with the Chicago Bears, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday, September 5, that Peters, at age 40, is signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. The announcement reignited pangs of regret and frustration for Bills Mafia, as the loss of the future Hall of Famer still stings.
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Rapoport tweeted, “Another year for the 40-year-old who figures to help Dallas at a position of need. The former #Eagles legend lives in Texas and now joins his hometown team.”
However, when Peters was asked on Monday if he was a Cowboys fan while growing up in Queen City, Texas, the six-time All-Pro said no, as reported by WFAA’s sports anchor Jonah Javad. “I was actually a Buffalo Bills fan. I liked Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, Jim Kelly,” he said.
Peters’ answer stirred up some emotions from Bills fans on Twitter. “This kind of makes the Bills driving him out of town hurt more I’m not gonna lie,” one fan tweeted, while another man wrote, “I will never forgive the drought era Bills front office…”
When the Bills traded Peters to the Eagles, they received in exchange a first and fourth-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and a sixth-rounder in 2010. While Buffalo selected center Eric Wood with their No. 28 overall pick in 2009, who became a cornerstone of the Bills’ offensive line for eight years, the “what if” over how the team would’ve fared if Peters had stayed in Buffalo remains.
Peters Is No Rush to Retire
While playing with the Bears last season, Peters made 15 starts and earned a 77.5 grade from Pro Football Focus. Before signing with the Cowboys, the 6-foot-6 left tackle made it clear that he had no intentions of retiring this offseason.
During an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio on July 20, Peters said he was focused on staying in shape and figuring out which teams would be the best fit for him.
“I just let my agent talk to those teams and he’ll hit me and let me know who’s interested and who’s not. Looking for an upcoming offensive line, good team — or a playoff team. Either/or is good for me, because I can pass my torch on to some guys who are trying to get better, the younger guys, the new generation. Or if I get on a team with some vets, they already know how I rock, and we can just go into the playoffs and make a run and try to win another ring.
“But right now, either way is good for me because I can teach or I can sit back and listen and learn from other veterans who have played this game, too. So either way is good.”
The 2022 NFL season will mark Peters’ 18th year in the NFL. After signing with the Cowboys, Peters said he’s in no rush to retire. “If you love the game and want to keep playing, I’m just showing them you can do it instead of letting the league run you out,” he said, per Cowboy’s senior writer Rob Phillips. “I’m a living testimony that you can keep going.”
Peters Will Start the Season on the Practice Squad
Due to missing training camp and the preseason, Peters will start the season on the practice squad until he’s in NFL-ready shape. However, he’s wasted no time in taking the Cowboy’s first-round draft pick, tackle Tyler Smith, under his wing.
“Today he was giving me some tips and tricks he’s learned throughout the years that could really help me in my development,” Smith said. “He’s a great addition to the team.”