Brandon Brooks Tears Achilles, Will Miss Season
Brandon Brooks will miss the 2020 season with a torn Achilles, the Eagles right guard revealed on Twitter Monday night.
One of the very best guards in the NFL, Brooks’ loss is a huge blow to the offensive line, which is one of the best units in the league thanks in part to Brooks.
How and when the injury occurred isn’t known. Brooks did not share that information on Twitter.
He did mention that the Achilles is the “other” one, which would be on his left side. He tore the right Achilles in a divisional-round playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 13, 2019.
Brooks did a remarkable job rehabbing as quickly as possible from that tear last year and was in the starting lineup for the Eagles’ season opener on Sept. 8, a recovery that lasted less than eight months.
Even if he were to make another recovery like that, the season would still be over by the time he was ready to return.
Brooks, who will turn 31 in August, signed a four-year contract extension on Nov. 11, 2019, worth $56.3 million. He received a $3.9M signing bonus and his salary in 2020 is fully guaranteed and will count $7.9M against the salary cap and will nearly double to $14.5M in 2021.
The right guard has also struggled with anxiety in his career, an issue he speaks openly about in order to help others.
So, who replaces Brooks at right guard?
One external candidate could be Jason Peters if he is willing to play a position he has never played in his career. Peters is still a free agent and a Hall of Fame left tackle, but to assume he could handle an interior position may not be wise.
Another external possibility could be Larry Warford, who was released by the Saints in May and remains a free agent. Warford, who will turn 29 on June 18, is believed to be asking for $7M per year. He has made the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons as a guard.
Then there's one more: Kyle Long.
Long, who is the brother of former Eagles defensive end Chris Long, announced his retirement this offseason when the Chicago Bears declined to pick up his contract option. Long is 31 and there are rumblings that he may want to unretire.
More likely, the Eagles will look in-house, and this is where the loss of Halapoulivaati Vaitai in free agency, could potentially be extremely damaging.
Matt Pryor gained some experience at guard last year and did well enough to warrant a shot. The Eagles also drafted Jack Driscoll in the fourth round of the draft. Driscoll played tackle at Auburn but is believed to be better suited to move inside. Sua Opeta, a late addition from the practice squad last year, may also be in the mix as could Nate Herbig, who spent all year on the 53-man roster but never saw the field.
Also, Luke Juriga, an undrafted free agent from Western Michigan, started all 52 games of his college career, splitting time between center and right guard.
No matter who is tabbed to replace Brooks, the shoes will be difficult to fill.