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Eagles Warned to Avoid 1 Potential Jason Kelce Replacement

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Eagles Warned to Avoid 1 Potential Jason Kelce Replacement

 

The Philadelphia Eagles may need to replace future Hall of Fame center Jason Kelce this offseason, and they are being warned to avoid one pending free agent in particular: Tennessee Titans center Aaron Brewer.

 

Eagles Warned to Avoid 1 Potential Jason Kelce Replacement

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report named Brewer as one of the top players Philly should avoid in free agency this offseason.

“Adding a veteran to the mix would make plenty of sense, and Aaron Brewer started 17 games for the Tennessee Titans in 2023,” Knox wrote on February 12, adding: “However, his transition from guard to center didn’t exactly go swimmingly. Brewer was responsible for five penalties and six sacks allowed, according to Pro Football Reference.”

Brewer is still only 26, and he has been durable, starting all 17 games in each of the past two seasons. He played the bulk of his career snaps at left guard heading into the 2023 season, when he moved over to center. That’s another reason Knox thinks the eagles should steer clear of Brewer.

On the February 12 episode of The Big Podcast With Shaq, Kelce revealed he’ll know if he’s coming back to play for Philly in the 2024 season very soon. “If I still want to play, I’m gonna play,” Kelce told NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal on the pod. “I’ll have an answer in the next couple of weeks.”

Kelce has played all 13 of his seasons with the Eagles, getting named a first-team All-Pro six times and a Pro Bowler seven times in that span. Knox believes Kelce’s shoes shouldn’t be filled by a player with just one year of NFL experience at center.

“This isn’t to say that Brewer can’t develop into a quality NFL center, but the Eagles need a more proven player if Kelce does depart,” Knox wrote. “The 36-year-old is not only the anchor of Philly’s offensive line but has served as the catalyst of the team’s infamous quarterback-push play. A more proven center, like Andre James, should be far higher on the Eagles’ wish list.”

 

It’s still unclear whether or not Kelce will retire, but even if he does, Philadelphia won’t have a ton of money to spend in free agency, so that will be a factor. The Eagles are set to have just under $21 million in cap space this offseason, and that’s with Kelce’s $10.2 million contract on the books.

PFF has Brewer projected to sign a three-year contract worth $20 million ($6.7 million annually, $12 million guaranteed). Spotrac’s projected contract for Brewer is a tad higher, at $15.7 million ($5.2 million per year).

James is going to be a more expensive player, but he’s also better and more experienced, starting 49 games at center for the Raiders each of the past three seasons.

PFF has James projected to ink a three-year contract worth $27 million ($9 million per year, $15 million guaranteed). If Kelce does hang up his cleats, a player in the mold of James would be a solid replacement.

In 583 pass block snaps last season, James allowed 11 hurries, 4 quarterback hits and 4.0 sacks. By contrast, in 622 pass block snaps in 2023, Brewer gave up 21 hurries, 7 QB hits and 6.0 sacks. It’s a bit too early to speculate about Kelce’s decision, but the Eagles will have to be prepared for both scenarios, whatever he decides.

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