A decision has finally been made on Lane Johnson and his suspension. After listening to an appeal, the NFL decided that it would uphold the 10-game ban for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy a second time, as reported by ESPN. Now, the Philadelphia Eagles have to scramble for a solution on the offensive line.
As expected, Philadelphia Eagles president Howie Roseman issued an official statement on behalf of the franchise. He stated that he was disappointed with the decision. Roseman also stated that Lane Johnson needs to be held accountable for his actions, as he owes it to everyone involved with the Eagles, including the fans.
Lane Johnson will be eligible to return to the Philadelphia Eagles roster on December 19. That means that he can play in the final two home games against the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, both of whom are NFC East rivals. Those two games could determine spots in the NFL Playoffs.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai is currently penciled in as the backup plan for the Philadelphia Eagles. The fifth-round rookie will take over as the starting right tackle. The former TCU Horned Frogs star has a chance to make an impact for the Eagles and stake a claim to the position, even after Lane Johnson returns.
If Halapoulivaati Vaitai does not work out at the right tackle position, then the next backup plan would be to move Allen Barbre from the starting left guard position. That is something that the Philadelphia Eagles are hoping against because they do not want to ruin the chemistry of the offensive line.
The loss of Lane Johnson means that the Philadelphia Eagles now need Jason Peters to stay healthy for the majority of the season. Their starting left tackle is 34-years-old, and Johnson was the backup plan in case Peters went down with an injury.
Carson Wentz has been one of the bigger stories in the NFL this season. The rookie surprised many by going from third on the depth chart to being the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Wentz has played well enough to make Eagles fans believe that they now have a franchise caliber player at the position.
With Halapoulivaati Vaitai as the starting right tackle, the Philadelphia Eagles are essentially relying on a rookie to block for their most valuable rookie at a position that NFL teams have been struggling to fill. That is a pretty tall order.
Over the summer, Lane Johnson signed a new contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles. It included $35 million in guaranteed money. With the suspension being upheld by the NFL, Johnson stands to lose a good portion of that. Some are saying that he could lose more than $25 million.
While on suspension, Lane Johnson is not allowed to be near the team or the team facilities. He has already stated that he is going to do his best to remain in shape, so that he can return to help the Philadelphia Eagles if they are in playoffs contention at the end of the season.
The Philadelphia Eagles have publicly stated that they will support Lane Johnson when he is done serving his 10-game suspension. There is a very good chance that Johnson will be back in the starting lineup before the season is over. If he can stay out of trouble, then Johnson will become an anchor for the Eagles again.
Lane Johnson has no choice but to face the music now that the NFL has made their decision. Rather than focusing on the bad, he should focus on doing whatever he can to become good again.
[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]