Potential Bears UFA Target – Jason Peters
The veteran left tackle will test free agency, and he could be a potential fit for the Bears.
Yesterday, the Philadelphia Eagles announced they will let Jason Peters test free agency. This doesn’t guarantee he will leave cheesesteak country, but there is a high probability it happens. There is, and always will be a shortage of capable left tackles in the NFL.
Peters is on the back nine of his highly decorated career. In 16 seasons, Peters has been named to the All-Pro team twice and has earned Pro Bowl honors nine times. While he hasn’t been named to the Pro Bowl since 2016, he is still playing at a high level. PFF gave him an overall grade of 82.4 in 2019. To put that in perspective, James Daniels, the Bears’ highest-graded offensive lineman, earned a 69.9. While PFF stats can be skewed, there is a marginal difference between Peters and all of the Chicago Bears’ offensive linemen. His age is somewhat of a concern, but he likely still has two good years left in the tank.
Teams won’t get in a bidding war over Peters like they do with rising stars coming off of a rookie deal. With that in mind, he still should seek a sizable contract in free agency. Last year, his contract value took a dip and he signed a one-year, $6 million dollar deal with a majority of it guaranteed. In his hay day, he was averaging around $10 million per year. If the Bears offered him a two-year, $12 million dollar contract ($7-8 mil guaranteed), they would find themselves in an opportune spot to land Peters. Guaranteed money is the only thing that really matters in these contracts. The Bears might have to shell out a little extra in guarantees, but Peters has only missed three games in the past two seasons. Durability hasn’t been much of an issue with Peters throughout his career. Charles Leno and Bobby Massie have immovable contracts in 2020, but honestly who cares? One of the starting tackles would end up becoming an overpaid back up, but would you rather watch another year of poor offensive line play?
Peters would also be a seamless fit with the Bears offense. Recently, he’s worked under Doug Pederson in a similar offense, but his history in the system goes far beyond that. He was brought to the Eagles in 2009 under Andy Reid, where he worked with new offensive line coach Juan Castillo and Matt Nagy. Castillo has sung high praises for Peters in the past and considers him one of the best offensive lineman he’s ever coached. The ties between Peters and the offensive staff can also be a deciding factor in his decision.
Jason Peters may be an aging veteran, but he would still come in and be the best offensive lineman on the Chicago Bears. He wouldn’t be a long-term solution, but he would be an affordable stopgap left tackle. His experience in the system and veteran leadership can help groom future lineman. The Bears need to take a serious look at Peters as a potential UFA signing.