Roseman sheds light on next year's starting left guard


He wasn’t even asked about left guard. Nonetheless, Howie Roseman on Saturday night revealed the Eagles’ plans for the position.

With Isaac Seumalo under contract for 2022 and expected to be healthy after missing most of last year with a foot injury, there’s been a lot of speculation about whether he would return to the position where he's started 43 games since 2016 or whether Landon Dickerson – who replaced Seumalo last year – would remain at left guard.

The Eagles hadn't addressed the left guard situation publicly, but Roseman, while answering a question about 2nd-round draft pick Cam Jurgens, revealed the team’s plans without being asked.

“For us, going through the season and seeing Landon and Jordan [Mailata] next to each other, I mean, that's imposing,” Roseman said. “We felt like the chemistry that they had developed going forward and how young those guys are, just developing that left side (makes sense).

“And we've seen something like that when we played really well when we had Brandon [Brooks] and Lane [Johnson] … and kind of looked at where we were and saw how powerful that side is and how important that was going forward and the chemistry that they developed, we felt like going forward that was the right thing for us to keep that way.”

The Eagles had plenty of options, but they all involved Dickerson, who played at a very high level after Seumalo’s season ended in Week 3, when he got hurt in Dallas.

Seumalo has been solid when he’s healthy, and if the Eagles gave him his left guard spot back, Dickerson could move to right guard, where he started one game last year after Brandon Brooks got hurt and before Seumalo got hurt. And there was a scenario before Jason Kelce announced he was returning for a 12th season where Dickerson would move inside to center with Seumalo at left guard.

But with Dickerson now etched in stone at left guard the question becomes who plays right guard, and that decision hasn’t been made.

The Eagles have plenty of options.

Jack Driscoll, Sua Opeta and Nate Herbig all played right guard at some point last year after Brooks’ season ended. Seumalo can play right guard, and Roseman said Jurgens will actually get some work at guard while focusing on center.

"He has the 'C' by his name first," Nick Sirianni said. "But, yeah, we know he can do both."

But even without Jurgens, the Eagles have several good options.

“Isaac has played a lot of football,” Sirianni said. “We know how good of a football player he is. We'll see how everything shakes out. Isaac is coming off an injury, but Jack Driscoll played meaningful snaps, Nate (Herbig) played meaningful snaps … Sua did a great job of stepping in (and) Cam (is) in the mix there. We have a lot of good options there.

“I think the one thing that I am continuously amazed about this place is the depth we have. Not only do we have a great starting offensive and defensive line, which is arguably one of the better ones in the NFL, we have depth at those positions, too, and we needed that depth last year with some of the injuries that we went through.”

Driscoll was probably the most effective right guard last year, but he's struggled with injuries in both his seasons here, and the Eagles may want to keep him in the Big V utility role, backing up both guard and tackle spots.

Herbig and Opeta are both undrafted guys who have made tremendous strides under Jeff Stoutland.

“Very fortunate the depth that we have there." Sirianni said. "Again, you don't ever want anybody to get injured, but you really see when somebody does here that the next guy up is ready to go.”

One thing to keep an eye on is Seumalo’s contract.

He’s due $5.65 million this year with a $7.668 cap figure on the final year of his contract. If the Eagles release him, they would take on $5.856 million in dead money but save about $1.8 million in cap space.

If the Eagles release Seumalo with a post-June 1 designation, they can spread out the cap hit to $2.018 million in 2022 and $3.838 million in 2023, which would give them $5.65 million in cap savings this year.

That’s where all that depth comes in handy. Seumalo has been limited to 12 games since the start of the 2020 season, and if the Eagles feel they can cover both guard spots with Dickerson, Herbig, Opeta, Driscoll and Jurgens – and they can – Seumalo could be the odd man out.

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