Tired of trying to re-sign two-time Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters, the Buffalo Bills have agreed in principle to trade him to the Philadelphia Eagles for three draft picks -- a first- and fourth-rounder in this year's draft and a sixth-rounder in 2010.
The deal, sources said, is contingent on Peters working out a new contract with the Eagles and passing a physical.
The Eagles have two first-round draft picks and would surrender the second, or 28th overall, in the deal for Peters. Initially, one source close to the Eagles said, Buffalo considered making the trade for a first- and third-rounder this year but, in the end, held out for three draft picks to give the Bills more flexibility.
Peters, who has two years left on his contract with Buffalo, had been seeking a long-term deal with the Bills that would average $11.5 million to $12 million a year, sources said. The Bills had been in talks with him since he returned last September from a holdout but had made such little progress that the club recently resolved to consider dealing him.
Sources said the club never had serious offers until late Thursday, when the Eagles approached them about making a deal.
With Peters gone, the Bills can work on repairing their offensive line through the draft. They now have the 11th and 28th choices, and you would figure that one of those would be exercised on an offensive lineman -- presumably a tackle. In the meantime, the short-term solution is to move last year's best pass blocker, Langston Walker, to left tackle to protect Trent Edwards' back and move Demetrious Bell to right tackle to take Walker’s spot.
Walker started one game at left tackle last season, playing there in Peters' absence. He was the team's starting right tackle the remainder of the year. Veteran Kirk Chambers is also a possibility -- but at either tackle. He played at right tackle for the season opener, then was the starter at left tackle for the Bills' last two games.
The departure of Peters ends a yearlong drama with the Bills and the 2007 and '08 Pro Bowl pick at odds over a new contract. The Bills had signed Peters to a generous five-year, $15 million extension shortly after he took over for Mike Williams at right tackle, but he demanded more last season after the club paid Walker and Derrick Dockery lucrative contracts as free agents.
He didn't attend last year's minicamps and he didn't make it to training camp, either, finally showing up Sept. 6 after the club insisted it would not talk about a new deal until he returned. Little headway was made on a deal, and Peters played poorly -- both factors in the club's decision to rid itself of a good player who had become a headache.