Potential replacements for Brandon Brooks
Devastating news broke last night that Eagles Guard Brandon Brooks tore his right Achilles practicing at the Nova Care Complex. This very likely means he is done for the 2020 season and could possibly put his career in jeopardy. Brooks tore his left Achilles in the 2018 playoffs and was able to return miraculously in 8 months to start the 2019 season. The Eagles have a few months to recover from this horrible injury before the start of training camp. Here is how the loss of Brooks affects the Eagles O-Line.
Looking at the current depth chart for Philly, it doesn’t seem like any of their current backups are suited for the Guard position. They drafted great depth in Driscoll and young Guard Matt Pryor likely isn’t ready to take over full time. So it is very likely the Eagles go to free agency to find their replacement.
The first name that pops out to me is former Denver Broncos’ guard Ron Leary. Leary had a great resume when he played during but the major thing that sticks out is in all 3 of his seasons in Denver he had season-ending injuries due to his back, Achilles, and a torn ligament in his toe. Each of these injuries led to his 2020 option being declined. So while Leary has been proven to do the job when he is available his health is a major question.
Every snap of Ron Leary @BigLeary65 vs Raiders
— Duke Manyweather (@BigDuke50) September 12, 2019
When healthy though he is a force to be reckoned with, being incredible at moving his feet and staying in front of his square. So this could be a good option to have a great player and have Pryor ready halfway during the season if something were to happen to Leary.
The next option is former Saints guard Larry Warford. Warford might be your best option here coming off his 3rd straight Pro-Bowl appearance in New Orleans. Warford was waived due to his high contract and since the Saints brought in Cesar Ruiz in the NFL draft, they were able to shed his contract without losing a lot of depth on the line. At 28 years old, the Eagles have enough cap space to pay Larry what he wants for a season and letting him walk in 2021 to be paid long term if Brooks returns.
Warford is a beast in the running game and has been exceptionally healthy in his time with the Saints only missing 4 games. Alongside 3 straight Pro Bowl appearances and did I mention he’s only 28?pic.twitter.com/RrG0Mjkogq
— Jack Connell (@JackPConnell) June 16, 2020
If something were to keep Brandon out longer Larry could fit in seamlessly. Warford has only ever started at the Right Guard position which bodes well for what they need him for and shows he knows what he is doing in the spot. His health is also much better than Leary, having only missed 4 games in his time with the Saints and started every other one. Warford is exceptional in the running game and would be dominant in front of Miles Sanders.
Thuney is an interesting case. Recently franchise tagged by the New England Patriots, the team is strapped for cap space and has been looking to possibly move him to alleviate some of that stress. With his tag, he will be commanding a bit over $14 million this season and the Eagles having $25 Million roughly are one of the few teams that could afford to bring him on.
On the lone TD drive of the game, the #Patriots had LG Joe Thuney block Aaron Donald 1v1 twice in key situations, and Thuney won both times. Thuney has tackle-like skills. Always balanced, great core strength, quick feet, knows how to use his arms/hands. Underrated player. pic.twitter.com/MQQaWpdZLj
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) February 7, 2019
Thuney wants to be paid as one of the highest Guards in the NFL so this could work out well as a 1 year prove-it deal for him that allows him to explore the open market this offseason and lets him work in a great environment. This situation isn’t as likely as the other two but he is a starting-caliber Guard that has been made available in the recent months and could realistically be brought in financially if no other major moves are made.
There is a lot of potential ways this could go before the season starts up and it shows that it always can never hurt to be too deep at the lineman positions and thankfully Howie drafted to have that help over the next few years.
Hopefully Brandon can make a full recovery and be back dominating in 2021.