Jason Peters is considered by many experts to be the best left tackle in the NFL.
The Philadelphia Eagles made sure he would be staying on their team Wednesday by signing him to a five-year, $51.3 million contract that carries through the 2018 season.
“It’s a whole lot of weight off my shoulders, just knowing I’m gonna be here, be in Philly,” Peters told reporters during a press conference at the NovaCare Complex. “I’ve loved it here from day one, when (former Eagles) coach (Andy) Reid brought me here (in 2009). And I’m ready to go to battle with (current coach) Chip (Kelly), and I’m with him for the next five years.”
Peters, who turned 32 last month, was entering the final year of a contract that would have paid him $10 million this season. His new deal includes $19.55 million in guaranteed money. According to Peters’ agent, Vincent Taylor, it’s the most guaranteed money ever paid to an offensive lineman 32 or older.
His future seemed in doubt just two years ago. Peters sat out the entire 2012 season after twice rupturing his Achilles tendon prior to that season.
He bounced back in 2013 with another outstanding season that saw him earn his sixth career Pro Bowl berth. His performance was more impressive, considering he played most of the year with a broken finger that required surgery.
“There aren’t many people cut from the same cloth as Jason Peters,” Kelly said Wednesday in a statement. “To be able to bounce back from two Achilles injuries and return to an All-Pro level speaks not only to his incredible athleticism, but proves just how hard he works at his game. Having him at left tackle provides a lot of comfort to our quarterback and to our entire offense. He’s a guy that many players look up to in our locker room.”
Peters was a mentor last season for rookie right tackle Lane Johnson, the Eagles’ first-round draft pick in 2013. When Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was coaching at the University of Alabama, he often showed film of Peters to his linemen as an example of excellence at the position.
Peters, 6-foot-4 and 328 pounds, excels because of a combination of strength, power and agility seldom seen in a player his size. He also possesses a strong work ethic.
In 2013, he teamed with Johnson, guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans, and center Jason Kelce, to help Eagles running back LeSean McCoy win the NFL rushing title with a franchise-record 1,607 yards while also protecting quarterback Nick Foles well enough for Foles to throw 27 touchdown passes against just two interceptions.
“Jason is everything you look for in a left tackle,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said Wednesday in a statement. “The (physical talent) that Jason possesses is something that everyone wants in an offensive lineman. However, what really makes him unique is his desire to improve day in and day out, despite the fact that he’s played at an elite level for so many years.”
Contact David Weinberg: