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NFC East Notebook: Goodbye “Redskins,” Dak Prescott’s contract, and Jason Peters

Here’s what you need to know about the teams around the division this week

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Detroit Lions v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Things were looking bleak for the Eagles on offense when right guard Pro Bowl starter Brandon Brooks suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in June.

The NFL has always been about adjusting on the fly though and this situation is no different.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported this week that the Eagles are re-signing Pro Bowl OL Jason Peters to a one-year deal. Here’s the catch. Peters will be playing guard, not tackle.

Schefter has also reported that the contract is worth up to $6 million with $3 million guaranteed. At 38 years old, Peters is going to switch positions - a fact made more surprising when remembering that Peters has expressed in the past that he is the best left tackle option on the team. Pro Football Focus graded him as their sixth-best offensive tackle last season.

The closest Peters has come to playing right guard came when he lined up at right tackle for 10 games as a member of the Buffalo Bills in 2005. His experience is otherwise limited to left tackle. And with decreased practice opportunities due to the coronavirus pandemic, Peters will have less chances to practice the new position.

But if executed successfully, the position change has the potential to help out not only the Eagles but Peters himself. Peters has the chance to further bolster his Hall of Fame resume and the Eagles would gain some stellar depth to their offensive lineman that will help carry them throughout the 2020 season.

Now, let’s dive into what was an eventful week around the division.

Washington NFL team

July 13, 2020 turned out to be a historic in the 87-year history of Washington’s NFL team.

Washington announced on Monday that it will be retiring the Redskins nickname that has defined the team for the past 83 years.

The statement read, “On July 3rd, we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team’s name. That review has begun in earnest. As part of this process, we want to keep our sponsors, fans and community apprised of our thinking as we go forward. Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review. Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”

Reports began circulating about the name change on Sunday evening with Sports Business Daily first reporting the news and adding that the new name would not be announced yet due to pending trademark issues.

We have been monitoring the developments in the name change closely in the notebooks of the past few weeks. We know that owner Dan Snyder has defended the name in the past, telling USA Today in 2013 that “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Yet his opinion has clearly shifted in recent weeks and many have been debating the sudden change in heart. The recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have caused many corporations nationwide to remove logos and symbols that are considered offensive. Pressure has therefore been building for the Redskins to change a name that has a controversial history and is considered by many to be a racial slur. ESPN reported that Snyder was engaged with talks in the league about a possible new name in the weeks following Floyd’s death.

In the meantime, Washington removed the statue of former owner George Preston Marshall, the last owner to integrate an NFL team, from outside of RFK Stadium and from the Ring of Honor. The team also retired Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell number - marking just the second number in team history to be retired. Mitchell was the team’s first Black player.

The concrete change started to happen though when FedEx, one of the primary financial backers for the team and the namesake of the stadium, released a statement asking Washington to change its name. Nike and other sponsors soon followed suit.

One day after FedEx’s statement, the team announced that it would be undergoing a “through review” of the team’s name “in light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community.”

Days later, it was revealed that three minority owners, one of who is the CEO and president of Fedex, was looking to sell their shares in the team. Together, the three own about 40 percent of the franchise.

Whether you believe the fight against social injustice led to the name being retired or that it came down (once again) to money, change is coming to Washington.

It remains to be seen how they pull this off in time for the team’s season-opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 13.

Dallas Cowboys

Finally this past week, a date that had long been circled on the Cowboys calendar rolled around and the news wasn’t what Dallas fans wanted.

On 4 p.m. on July 15, the team hit its deadline to have a long-term contract finalized with quarterback Dak Prescott since placing the franchise tag on him earlier this offseason. Prescott will play the 2020 season under the franchise tag.

Philadelphia Eagles

In last week’s notebook, wide receiver DeSean Jackson was making headlines for all of the wrong reasons. He had posted anti-Semitic posts on his Instagram that have gone viral even beyond the football community. The Eagles have since released a statement on Jackson’s posts.

This has been a difficult and emotional week for our community and organization. The Philadelphia Eagles do not tolerate hate towards any individual or group. We believe in respect and equality for all races, ethnicities, and faiths. We as an organization want to help be an instrument for positive change. This can only occur through strong, deliberate actions and a commitment to learn and grow.

Jackson was penalized for conduct detrimental to the team and he has since apologized for his actions. The team does therefore not appear to be suspending Jackson.

Jackson has since reportedly met with “a group against anti-Semitism” on Thursday and with a Holocaust survivor on Friday. New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is Jewish, has reached out to Jackson about using their experience to educate each other.

Together, the teams around the NFC East have taken steps forwards and backwards in recent weeks.