This means Thornton will likely be back in Philadelphia next season, as expected. It's possible another NFL team signs Thornton to an offer sheet, but the Eagles would have the ability to match it. If the Birds didn't match, the team would allow Thornton to walk and recoup a second round pick in the process. It seems unlikely another team would be very willing to pay Thornton and also part with a draft pick, however.
Thornton has been with the Eagles since joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2011. The 26-year-old defensive lineman has started and played in all 32 regular season games for the Eagles the past two season. In that time he's recorded 103 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble. Thornton isn't exactly known for his pass rush skills but he's a very good run stopper.
Thornton is arguably one of the most underrated players on the team. Dave Mangels wrote about why he's so valuable earlier this offseason:
"Cedric Thornton picked right up where he left off last season, being a dominant force against the run using both strength and technique. He was such a worry to opposing offenses that the Eagles were able to dictate the offense's blocking and still destroyed it."
The return of Thornton ensures the Eagles will continue to have one of the better (and younger) 3-4 defensive lines in the league. Fellow defensive end Fletcher Cox is a stud and nose tackle Bennie Logan had a very solid sophomore campaign.
Thornton will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2015 season.
Texted with Ced Thornton, who seems OK with the second-round RFA tender, wants to stay in philly and almost certainly will.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) March 7, 2015