According to a report from Mark Eckel of NJ.com, the Eagles and restricted free agent Cedric Thornton are talking about a long-term contract extension. Nothing is necessarily imminent, but Eckel indicates preliminary talks have begun.
"According to a person with knowledge of the situation, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject, the Eagles and Thornton were believed to be working on a longer deal that would keep the 6-4, 309-pound linemen with the Eagles beyond the 2015 season."
Thornton originally received a second-round tender from Philadelphia before to the start of free agency in early March. The one-year deal is worth $2.356 million, but Thornton has yet to officially sign his tender. Thornton is reportedly OK with playing on the tender, but an extension could be in the best interest of both sides. Thornton told BGN Radio that he would love to sign a long-term contract with the Eagles.
Thornton is one of the most underrated players on the Eagles' roster. He's a dominant force against the run as a starting 3-4 defensive end. Thornton, who turns 27 in July, will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season if he plays out his one-year deal.
The deadline for restricted free agents to sign their tender is April 23. It's possible another NFL team signs Thornton to an offer sheet by then, 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 high draft pick, however.
Speaking of the deadline, NJ.com also has an update on Chris Polk. Polk, like Thornton, is a restricted free agent. Unlike Thornton, however, the Eagles tendered him at the lowest possible level. This means another team can sign Polk to an offer sheet. The Eagles would have a chance to match the offer but wouldn't receive any compensation if they decline. Polk was Philadelphia's third string running back in 2013 and 2014 but the team has a crowded backfield now with DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, and Darren Sproles all likely ahead of him on the depth chart.
One more free agent update: do you remember Jeff Maehl? He's an exclusive-rights free agent which basically means Maehl's only option is to re-sign with the Eagles on a minimum deal or not play in the NFL at all this season. I would assume the Eagles will tender Maehl to that minimum deal and allow him to compete for a roster spot in training camp.