Chicago’s lack of offensive line depth was problematic last season. But even after addressing it in free agency (hey, Elijah Wilkinson!) and NFL Draft (Teven Jenkins! Larry Borom!) the Bears began the preseason with numerous issues on the offensive side of the trenches.
Enter Jason Peters.
The 39-year-old Peters joins a group that needs as many able-bodied blockers at it can get. For what it’s worth, Peters is the most accomplished tackle of the bunch. Peters has nine Pro Bowl appearances under his belt and a pair of first-team All-Pro nods on his résumé. But at age 39, it’s fair to wonder how much gas Peters has left in the tank. Peters hasn’t completed a full 16-game season since 2018. And four of his last six years have finished with him playing 13 games or fewer. Those are some pretty gnarly red flags. But that Peters still represents an upgrade from what the Bears had speaks volumes of the in-house options.
Alright, that’s enough of an intro. It’s time to get to know the newest new guy.
Player, Age (in 2021), Position
Jason Raynard Peters, 39, left tackle
Nicknames: The Bodyguard, Godfather, Mythical Creature
Contract: 1 year, $1.075 million base ($1.75M max value)
6-4, 328 pounds
2020 stats: 8 games (8 starts), 508 snaps, 0 penalties, 8 sacks allowed; 67.6 overall grade from PFF
Career stats: 213 games (203 starts) in 17 seasons with the Bills (2004-08) and Eagles (2009-20).
Accomplishments: 9 Pro Bowl appearances (2007-11, 2013-16), 2 first-team All-Pro (2011, 2013), All-2010s Team (Pro Football Hall of Fame), NFL Top-100 (2012, 42nd; 2014, 67th; 2015, 40th)
PFF grades: 67.6 (2020), 82.3 (2019), 71.1 (2018), 84.2 (2017), 86.9 (2016), 82.2 (2015), 92.3 (2014), 90.7 (2013), DNP (2012), 90.0 (2011), 80.9 (2010), 74.6 (2009), 76.0 (2008), 79.0 (2007), 83.1 (2006)
Need This Kind of Energy
— MRCROCKPOT TPL (@mrcrockpot) August 14, 2021
Alright, So The New Guy Might Need to Prove He Isn’t Washed
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Bears have been needing help at offensive tackle for quite some time. Right tackle Germain Ifedi hasn’t been available while on the PUP List due to a hip flexor injury. Left tackle Teven Jenkins underwent back surgery and is out indefinitely. Reserve Larry Borom just came back from being on the sideline while dealing with concussion protocol. All in all, between the injuries an inexperience at the position, rolling the dice on Peters is a sensible option.
Maybe Peters is simply keeping the seat warm for Jenkins’ return — whether it be this year or 2022. Or perhaps the team scraps its plans to put Jenkins at left tackle to re-insert him on the right side of the line. Peters did play some right tackle in his past, so maybe he moves? Ultimately, things are lining up for Peters to start at left tackle when the regular season kicks off. We’ll cross whatever bridges to elsewhere whenever reach them on our journey. But until then, it’s Peters’ time (until it isn’t).
The goal here should be to use Peters as a bridge to 2022. If things go to plan, Peters holds down the fort on a short-term deal that allows the Bears to re-evaluate the position for the future. And if we can be honest with each other, how this franchise builds for a future around Justin Fields is more important than what happens in the snapshot of this single season. So, if Peters can help build a bridge toward a better tomorrow, then Bears fans will welcome him with open arms. If not, then the team is on the hook for less than $2 million. It’s a worthwhile roll of the dice.