The Philadelphia Eagles currently have eight players who are 30 or older, plus two more players who will turn 30 by the end of the 2023 regular season. The 30-year-olds are C Jason Kelce (35), EDGE Brandon Graham ( 35), RT Lane Johnson (33), DT Fletcher Cox (32), CB Darius Slay (32), DE Matt Leo (31), LS Rick Lovato (30) and P Arryn Siposs (30). CB James Bradberry turns 30 in August and QB Marcus Mariota turns 30 in October.
Six of the players listed above have at least one All-Pro season on their resume. It is not out of the ordinary. The oldest players on the teams are often also the best players as they have been able to stick around the league long enough to be among the oldest.
Here, we’ll take a look at what kind of succession plan the Eagles have in place for each of their aging players (oldest first).
• C Jason Kelce (35): The Eagles have had three different succession plans for Kelce, starting with Isaac Seumalo, followed by Landon Dickerson, and now Cam Jurgens. Seumalo ended up playing in Philly for seven years before moving on to Pittsburgh this offseason, while Dickerson has settled in as a Pro Bowl guard. Jurgens will compete for the starting RG job this offseason, but he remains Kelce’s heir apparent at center if Kelce decides to retire next offseason.
• Edge Brandon Graham (35): The eagles are loaded to the brim. They have a mix of veteran leadership (Graham), a couple of impact players in their prime (Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat) and a young buck to learn from the rest of the group (Nolan Smith). Assuming Smith shows promise as a rookie, the Eagles will remain in an enviable position on the edge for quite some time, even if this ends up being Graham’s final season as an Eagle.
• RT Lane Johnson (33): Johnson says he wants to play two more seasons. The Eagles drafted Tyler Steen, a four-year college starter at tackle, with a high pick (65th overall), but Steen’s future with the team appears to be up in the air. Otherwise, the team doesn’t have a young tackle developing behind the scenes, so it would make sense for the Eagles to select Johnson’s eventual replacement with a high pick in the 2024 draft.
• DT Fletcher Cox (32): The Eagles have selected five interior defensive linemen in the draft over the last three years:
• Milton Williams (24), third round, 2021
• Marlon Tuipulotu (23), sixth round, 2021
• Jordan Davis (23), first round, 2022
• Jalen Carter (22), first round, 2023
• Moro Ojomo (21), seventh round, 2023
Davis will be under some scrutiny this season after a disappointing rookie season, and expectations will be high for Carter, a player widely considered the most talented prospect in the 2023 draft, while Williams should see more snaps with Javon Hargrave, who travels to San Francisco. But the Eagles have had enough of a bite at DT that they can probably feel OK with the position in the long term.
• CB Darius Slay (32): The Eagles used a 2024 third-round pick to draft Kelee Ringo, who will have time to develop in the background as an outside corner behind Slay and Bradberry. Otherwise, Zech McPhearson has been waiting for his turn as the backup outside corner for the past two seasons, but he’s already halfway through his rookie contract. If Slay and Bradberry are the starters again in 2024, McPhearson could be a free agent when the Eagles need him to play in the regular defense. And then there’s Josh Jobe, who joined the team as an undrafted rookie in 2022, as well as some 2023 undrafted guys in Eli Ricks and Mekhi Garner, who also have some talent.
The Eagles have some young players in the pipeline at corner, but at the moment they are all question marks.
• DE Matt Leo (31): Leo now counts on the Eagles’ 90-man roster after three years exempt from rosters in the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. I have no idea if/when the Eagles will be able to trade Leo for another Australian player, but for now Leo is still on the roster and could easily make the practice squad for another season.
• LS Rick Lovato (30): Long snappers have long shelf lives, but Lovato is actually slated to be a free agent next offseason. The Eagles (rightly so) don’t like paying long snappers a lot of money, so if some nitwit GM offers Lovato a big contract, the Eagles may have to find a new guy to throw the ball between his legs.
• P Arryn Siposs (30): Siposs is battling undrafted rookie Ty Zentner to keep his point guard job this offseason.
• CB James Bradberry (August 30): See Slay above.
• QB Marcus Mariota (30 in October): The Eagles took a sixth-round flier on Tanner McKee. If McKee can show he’s worthy of No. 2 quarterback consideration in 2024 and beyond, then the Eagles will have themselves a very cheap backup for the next three seasons. If not, then the Eagles need to pay Mariota or another new No. 2 decent money next offseason.
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