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Eagles Stay or Go 2024: Who will Eagles' backup tackles be?

Eagles Stay or Go 2024: Who will Eagles' backup tackles be?

Eagles Stay or Go 2024: Who will Eagles' backup tackles be? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro bring back Stay or Go in 2024, trying to figure out the futures of every Eagles player on the roster.

We already looked at quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end and interior offensive line.

Up today: Offensive tackle

Le’Raven Clark

Roob: A 30-year-old practice squadder? Clark was that last year. The expanded practice squad allows coaches to keep veteran guys around at minimal cost and still get the benefit of their knowledge and leadership and mentorship. Jordan Mailata has said how much Clark has helped him become a better practice player and a better player in general. Clark hasn’t played a snap for the Eagles since 2021, and he won’t play for them in 2024, but don’t be surprised if he’s still here on the practice squad. There can be a lot of value in players who don’t play.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: As long as another team doesn’t sign Clark, he’s still a nice insurance policy on the practice squad. The former third-round pick has played in 64 career games and has made 18 starts. He even played in four games for the Eagles back in 2021. If another team signs Clark, then so be it. The Eagles will wish him luck. But if he’s available you can expect to see him back on the practice squad; just don’t expect to see him on the 53-man roster immediately.

Verdict: Goes

Jack Driscoll

Roob: An interesting one. He’s been up and down as a player, but Nick Sirianni has always liked him because of his guard-tackle versatility and ability to make a spot start with very little notice and hang in there. Driscoll is an unrestricted free agent now, so I think there’s a fair chance he winds up somewhere else. And having Sirianni in your corner might not mean as much as it used to now that Kellen Moore is handling the offense. But Driscoll has some value. He’s played in 54 games, started 17, can play anywhere on the line except center and he’ll be cheap. Hunch:

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Driscoll is probably the trickiest player on this list of offensive tackles. He hasn’t been great during his four years in the NFL but he has been a valuable piece as a backup tackle and guard. In fact, he’s played in 54 games with 17 starts and having a guy like Driscoll around is nice. And with how much time Lane Johnson has missed in recent years, Driscoll always had to be ready to play. But the Eagles also can’t afford to overpay for Driscoll, who might get some offers on the open market to play elsewhere. The Eagles have been producing some good offensive linemen under Jeff Stoutland and that might be enough to earn Driscoll a contract elsewhere. And I also think this could be a chance for the Eagles to draft another tackle relatively high to be a backup/starter of the future. This one is close but I’m leaning toward Driscoll finding a new home.

Verdict: Goes

Fred Johnson

Roob: I like Big Fred as a backup tackle. He really flashed in training camp last summer and played well enough in the preseason games to make the 53 and stay there all year. Fred’s not a kid – he’ll turn 27 before training camp starts. He’s bounced around from the Steelers to the Bengals and the Buccaneers to the Eagles over parts of five seasons, starting eight games for the Bengals. I’d be surprised if he’s not the Eagles’ top backup tackle in 2024.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: The Eagles liked Johnson enough to sign him to a two-year deal during training camp, which meant a lot to the journeyman. Jordan Mailata ended up playing in every game this season so we didn’t see Big Fred play. But if you were to step into the locker room, you’d know how big a part of the team Johnson was this season. He’s right at home with the Eagles and is a favorite of teammates. He’ll be around for at least another year.

Verdict: Stays

Lane Johnson

Roob: Johnson goes into Year 12 coming off his fifth Pro Bowl and his fourth 1st- or 2nd-team all-pro honor. He’s signed for four more years so he’s not going anywhere for quite a while. Johnson can get overshadowed by Kelce and that’s understandable when you have a Hall of Famer lining up a few feet over to your left. But Johnson’s put together one heck of a body of work, and he’s the only active right tackle to make five Pro Bowls. I could see him retiring before this contract runs out. But not for at least a couple more years.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: After the Eagles’ loss in Tampa Bay, Johnson said he has a couple more good years in him and that’s good enough for me. Johnson played at an extremely high level again in 2023 and had a case to be an All-Pro again. He’s 33 now but hasn’t seemed to slow down and played in 16 of 17 games this past season. Eventually, the Eagles will need to figure out a plan to replace Johnson but they luckily don’t have to feel rushed to do it. He’ll be back in 2024 and hopefully he has at least a couple more really good seasons left.

Verdict: Stays

Roderick Johnson

Roob: Another big, older offensive tackle who’s been bouncing the league around forever. Johnson is 28, he hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2020 and he’s been released 10 times by four teams. A potential practice squad guy but not in the mix for the 53.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Roderick Johnson joined the Eagles’ practice squad early during the season in 2022 and was with them in camp in the summer. But Johnson suffered an injury and spent the entire 2023 season on IR.

Verdict: Goes

Jordan Mailata

Roob: Hard to believe Mailata is going into his seventh season. He’s started 57 games, the most by an Eagles 7th-round pick since all-pro defensive tackle Charlie Johnson started 73 from 1977 through 1981. Mailata had his best season yet this season, and he’s signed through 2025, so Roseman doesn’t have to worry about Mailata’s next contract quite yet. But he’s a guy you’d love to see spend his entire career in Philly. Mailata is only 26 and still relatively new to the game. I feel like there's even more there, and I still believe he can be a Pro Bowl-caliber guy.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Mailata played in every game during the 2023 season and had a much better season than he did in 2022. He has quietly become one of the best left tackles in the NFL and he’s under contract through the 2025 season. I think there’s still another level for Mailata to find in his game but even if he just remains an above average tackle, that’s pretty good for a guy who never played football before. On yeah, and he’ll be just 27 as he enters Year 7 of his NFL career.

Verdict: Stays

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