Among the slew of Eagles moves today was the announcement that Jordan Mailata has officially been named the starting left tackle, putting Andre Dillard in a back-up role.
This isn’t the most shocking news ever. Far from it, actually. Since the start of last season, Mailata has taken major strides. Even though he was thrust into action due to numerous injuries, he came up solid and showed that the Eagles were smart for betting on the former Rugby player’s future in football.
This is beneficial to not only the Eagles (they’ll have the best LT out on the field), but also for Mailata. The 24-year-old is set to enter free agency after this season, and he could set himself up for a big payday if he has a productive year. The best possible outcome would be for him to take another big step and return on a brand new contract in 2022.
What Happens To Andre Dillard?
Even if Mailata had showed some problems in camp, that probably wouldn’t have made a difference. Dillard was just that bad this preseason, getting beat in games and in practices:
Andre Dillard fell on his back while trying to block Jets journeyman DL Jeremiah Valoaga in 1-on-1. Second day in a row he’s been wrecked by that guy. #Eagles
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 25, 2021
It hasn’t been an easy road for the former first-rounder, and it’s hard to say where the team goes from here. Having depth, no matter the quality, isn’t the worst thing in the world. We’ve seen how easily injuries can occur, especially to this team.
However, the Eagles have shown they’re more than willing to move backup pieces. They just traded G/T Matt Pryor and a 2021 seventh round pick to the Indianapolis Colts today for a 2021 sixth-round pick.
There are potential destinations for Dillard. The Green Bay Packers just had All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtari hit the PUP list due to a knee injury, which means he’ll be out for the first six weeks of the season. Dillard could be of interest to them as a stopgap until Bakhtari returns.
The big problem is that the Eagles likely wouldn’t get anything close to the original price they paid for Dillard, especially after his poor showings in the past couple months. At that point, you have to ask yourself what holds more value: Dillard serving as a backup or a mid-round pick.
The O-Line Should Look Good This Year
With Mailata officially the starter, the offensive line is now set:
- LT: Jordan Mailata
- LG: Isaac Seumalo
- C: Jason Kelce
- RG: Brandon Brooks
- RT: Lane Johnson
This is a really good line. Obviously, there are big concerns about health. Brooks is returning from torn achilles, while Lane Johnson dealt with a lingering ankle injury all last season. Seumalo also started just nine games in 2020 due to a knee injury.
If the line is able to stay healthy and Mailata is able to take that next step, Jalen Hurts and the running back group should be able to flourish.