The Eagles have re-signed offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski, who has been with the team for three seasons and started in Super Bowl LII.
Three of our beat writers weigh in on Monday’s signing.
With Brandon Brooks recovering from Achilles tendon surgery, this is a prudent move. Wiz is a much-more limited player than Brooks, but he can hold down the fort when needed without making any egregious mistakes, and he is an experienced backup at both guard positions and center.
I’m a little surprised he’s back, even at a cut-rate price. I thought he might get more free-agent interest as a possible starter elsewhere, and his dissatisfaction after being replaced at left guard by Isaac Seumalo last season created a tricky vibe. Wiz is an interesting guy, though — more than willing to tell reporters when he thinks he’s being shortchanged, but apparently he doesn’t let that affect how he deals with teammates and coaches.
Like a lot of the other depth moves the Eagles have made, this signing doesn’t carry a “wow” factor, but there is no downside I can see.
This one was easy. One of the few places the Eagles lacked depth on their roster was the interior offensive line, mainly because they didn’t pick up the option on Wisniewski’s contract in March and didn’t draft an interior lineman.
With Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon and far from a sure thing to be ready for the start of the season, it was a no-brainer to bring back the 30-year-old Wisniewski on a one-year deal for a third of what he would have made on his old contract.
Matt Pryor might eventually turn out to be a pretty good player, but the 2018 fourth-round pick didn’t play a down as a rookie. Throwing him in at right guard in September if Brooks isn’t ready isn’t something a team that has a second Super Bowl title in three years on its mind really wants to do.
Wiz, who has 101 career starts at guard and center, including 18 the last two years with the Eagles, doesn’t have the physical skills of Isaac Seumalo, who replaced him at left guard. But he’s an extremely smart and savvy player and a superb technician who seldom makes mistakes.
If he’s good with returning as a backup, that’s one less thing the Eagles have to worry about entering training camp.
This was a smart move for the Eagles. Wisniewski is not a Pro Bowler or high-level starter, but he’s as good as you can get for a backup interior lineman. He can play all three spots, knows the system, has more than 100 career starts, started in the Super Bowl, and the type of player who will be ready at a moment’s notice.
On game days, it’s so valuable to have someone who can play three spots. Matt Pryor might be the player they want when there’s an extended absence at guard, but on game days, the versatility of someone who can play guard and center keeps the team from needing to shuffle multiple positions. This can be viewed as insurance at right guard if Brandon Brooks is not ready for the season, although the Eagles are bullish on Pryor, who offers more size.
But Wisniewski is capable of stepping in when needed, and my guess is that when you look at the snap totals at the end of the year, Wisniewski will have played a role for the Eagles. Experienced depth is important.