The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the smart teams, so they know that the driving force behind their Super Bowl LII triumph was the play up front.
It should come as no surprise, then, after re-signing Brandon Graham and Isaac Seumalo last week, Howie Roseman's focus remained in the trenches Monday with the acquisition of DT Malik Jackson and re-signing of LT Jason Peters.
Peters, 37, returned last season from the torn Achilles he suffered in 2017 that postponed his first-ever playoff appearance, to do what he almost always does: Start every game on the blind side for the Eagles. Granted, he needed more help — both blocking and getting in and out of games — but continued showing his tremendous value, especially in the playoff win vs. Khalil Mack.
Peters is "freaky," Roseman said at the scouting combine. "So normal rules don’t apply when it comes to Jason."
Hence, the Eagles' comfort in bringing back the future Hall of Famer to protect Carson Wentz as he returns from his latest, and most ominous injury, a disc issue in his back. They have a few intriguing developmental players behind Peters in Jordan Mailata and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, but keeping Peters in the fold is an important continuity move, especially with starting RG Brandon Brooks potentially missing the 2019 season with his own Achilles injury.
The addition of Jackson was met initially Monday with disbelief on Twitter, thanks to a harmless typo from ESPN's Field Yates, who first reported the deal as being worth $10 million over three years. Of course, for a 29-year-old interior playmaker in Jackson who has missed only two games in seven seasons, that doesn't add up and was quickly clarified as having a max value of $30 million through 2021.
And we still like it quite a bit for a few reasons. First, the Eagles created a void when they dealt Michael Bennett to New England and passed on Tim Jernigan's 2019 option, and Jackson, though not quite as fearsome and dynamic as Bennett, is a load in the middle who could be devastating next to All-Pro Fletcher Cox.
Secondly, because the Jaguars cut Jackson three seasons into his six-year, $85.5 million deal, it won't ding Philly's 2020 compensatory pick outlook, and remember what we said up above about the Eagles being one of the smart clubs; that surely was part of Roseman's thought process with Jackson.
Finally, after crossing two needs off their list before free agency even began, the Eagles keep their draft options wide open. Could they be the team to pounce in Round 1 on a feature back, their clearest remaining need? It'd be easier to rationalize with questions up front now answered.