One obstacle Vincent Taylor faced when Jason Peters' agent sat down to talk to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman about a contract extension was the lack of comparable deals.
"That was one of the biggest hurdles, getting over," Taylor said Wednesday, after the Eagles announced a five-year extension with their six-time Pro Bowl left tackle, which will pay $51.3 million if Peters is still an Eagle in 2018 (and the pact isn't renegotiated.) Peters, 32, will be 36 in 2018. About $19.55 million is guaranteed, most of that money in the next two seasons. "Howie will tell you. Had nothing to work off of. Talked to the NFLPA today, they said that's the highest guarantee for any o-lineman at 32 years old or above. We just had to look at it almost like the pink elephant -- what is it worth to you? It may not be worth much to the next person, but what is it worth to you? And they felt like, hey, that's what he's worth to us, and we settled."
Peters returned to Pro Bowl form in 2013 after having an Achilles' tendon repaired twice in the spring of 2012 and missing the disastrous 2012 season. There was a time when the Eagles weren't big on guarantees and extensions for 32-year-old players, even stars, but that was under a previous management, and really, you don't often have a guy who's as good as Peters at 32, with the Hall of Fame lurking as a strong possibility after the retires.
"He's got a chance to be a Hall of Fame type player in an Eagles uniform. For us to get that kind of player, and have him end his career here, still playing at an extremely high level ... just knowing that he contiuned to get better in this offense, in this scheme, just knowing his work ethic and his determination, he's a guy that really can defy all the odds that you look at going forward," Roseman said.
"He's a unique player. when you talk about the physical gifts that he has, there's not many men on this earth who are as physically talented as he is ... This is a core player to us, it's an important statement to our football team and our players about what we're going to about," Roseman said.
Realistically, the Eagles aren't really tied to Peters with significant guarantees after 2015, but they certainly expect him to be their starting left tackle at least that long, and now they don't have to worry about him becoming a free agent after next season. More and more, this is the way of the NFL -- teams make sure their dominant players don't get to free agency.
From Peters' perspective, the extension removes any uncertainty after this season, and puts a big chunk of money in his pocket right away. That's important to a man whose career flashed before his eyes two years ago, when he ripped the Achilles', had surgery, then ripped it again when he fell off the scooter device he was wheeling around on while recovering.
Taylor related what Peters told him about doing a new deal. "He said, 'Vince, I just want peace of mind. Cuz you know, I don't know any other gear other than 100 percent. I just want to know, if something happens, me giving it all I got to the Eagles, that I'm OK.' "
Peters, who came to the Eagles from Buffalo in a 2009 trade, said it would mean a lot to him to be able to retire as an Eagle -- something few Birds stars of the past few decades have been able to do. Assistant offensive line coach Tra Thomas, who made three Pro Bowls as Peters' predecessor, finished up as a Jacksonville Jaguar. On the other side, Jon Runyan finished as a San Diego Charger. It's hard to recall a big Eagles star who retired as an Eagle, since Mike Quick a quarter of a century ago.
"I love Philly and I love the organization," said Peters, who said he wanted to thank former coach Andy Reid "for getting me out of Buffalo."
Peters talked of having "a whole lot of weight off my shoulders, just knowing that I'm going to be here, be in Philly .. I'm ready to go to battle for Chip (Kelly). I'm with him for the next five years."