The Philadelphia Eagles have signed starting right guard Andrew Gardner to a multi-year contract extension, according to a report from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan. Gardner is now signed through the 2018 season.
UPDATE: Contract details:
#Eagles sign G Andrew Gardner to a 3-yr extension with base value of $4.7M, including a $500K signing bonus. Incentives bring it much higher— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 9, 2015
This deal comes as a bit of a surprise. The 29-year-old Gardner signed with the Eagles last offseason as a backup. He was forced into action early in the 2014 due to offensive line injuries before eventually taking over as the starting right guard for the last eight games of the season.
Entering this offseason, Gardner wasn't even necessarily favored to hang on to his starting job. He entered training camp in an open competition with Matt Tobin, John Moffit, and Julian Vandervelde for the right guard spot. It eventually became clear Gardner was the favorite because he began to take all the first team reps there in practice and the games.
The Eagles must have felt this was a good buy-low opportunity for them. Maybe they're right. For what it's worth, Gardner finished finished 34th out of 78 guards in PFF's overall grade. For perspective, former Eagles starting right guard Todd Herremans ranked 57th overall last season. PFF rated Gardner 24th out of 78 guards when it came to run blocking. Gardner ranked 26th out of 149 guards in limited playing time this preseason.
With Gardner locked up, this is what the Eagles offensive line will look like for the 2015 season and possibly beyond:
Left tackle: Jason Peters
Left guard: Allen Barbre
Center: Jason Kelce
Right guard: Andrew Gardner
Right tackle: Lane Johnson