The Philadelphia Eagles’ boasted arguably the best offensive line in football in 2021. Their depth in the trenches was second to none. Now the team is facing a major decision on what to do about one of their most important backups.
Andre Dillard will enter his fourth season in midnight green after going 22nd overall in the 2019 draft. The 315-pound left tackle flashed promise in five starts last season amid constant trade rumors. Dillard was crucial to their success when Jordan Mailata went down, but how much is he worth to them moving forward? That’s the $12.6 million question.
General manager Howie Roseman has to decide whether to pull the trigger on Dillard’s fifth-year option. The deadline for NFL teams to do that is May 2. The 26-year-old is only due $2.2 million in 2022, but that fifth-year option would guarantee him $12.6 million in 2023. The only way to void the fifth-year option would be if the player gets injured. It isn’t subject to the league’s 25% increase rule and doesn’t count toward league or club rookie pools or allocations.
According to Front Office Football, the fifth-year option was put in place to “provide teams with more security when it invests a valuable first-round pick on a player.” Dillard would be subject to substantial fines if he chose not to report to training camp. The $12.6 million figure is a “non-negotiable fixed amount.”
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NFL Analyst Suggests Eagles Won’t Exercise Option
NFL Network’s Marc Ross did a deep dive on every player taken in the first round of the 2019 draft. He weighed the pros and cons of picking up the fifth-year options on all 32 guys. The biggest name on that list was Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray who would be due $29.7 million. But Dillard’s situation was addressed, too.
Ross doesn’t see the Eagles picking up Dillard’s fifth-year option, citing his role as an expensive backup while calling him a “major disappointment.” Dillard seems perfectly primed for a trade out of town this offseason. Ross wrote: “The Eagles just gave Jordan Mailata, a 2018 seventh-rounder with no previous football experience, to a four-year deal, so Dillard will likely get a fresh start somewhere else soon.”
Howie Roseman Trying to Increase Trade Value?
Roseman heaped praise on Dillard when asked about the fourth-year tackle at the NFL Scouting Combine. The savvy front-office executive explained how much he valued the depth Dillard provided in 2021, then talked about the way he’s been attacking his offseason workouts. Dillard is in great shape, per Roseman, and determined to play.
“It’s hard to find offensive linemen who can move and who can bend,” Roseman told reporters. “The amazing thing is Andre is working out every day right now. I’m not allowed to really talk to him about anything, but you can see, he looks great. Upper body, lower body, he’s really determined. He wants to play.”
Take Roseman’s words at face value at your own risk. Sure, he could be telling the truth. Or he could be hyping up the former first-rounder in an effort to raise his trade value.