Eagles' Gardner signing looks like a bargain
So after letting All-World guard Evan Mathis walk because of money this offseason, the Eagles signed their new starter at right guard, Andrew Gardner, to a 3-year $4.7 million extension. That equates to less than what Mathis would have earned in one year, and, if Gardner fulfils some of the promise he’s shown, it may turn out to be great business for Philadelphia.
Now any Eagles fan who sat through his Week 3 debacle against Washington last season may wonder what the heck I’m talking about. Starting at right tackle in place of the suspended Lane Johnson, he was awful. Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo took turns destroying him (Kerrigan with bull rushes and then Orakpo setting him up to the outside before hitting his inside shoulder). A false start, two hits and seven hurries later, and the coaches couldn’t wait another week for Johnson’s return, replacing Gardner in the starting lineup.
So what possible merit could this move have? Well, for one thing, he’s now the starting right guard (not right tackle), and in that position last year he graded a credible +1.9. At tackle, he was a reprehensible -7.6.
Additionally, he’ll get support from two pretty decent players on either side of him in Johnson and C Jason Kelce, and if he can parlay that +1.9 grade into something similar across the entire season, the Eagles will have a bargain on their hands. A slightly above-average starting guard for a great price? Head coach Chip Kelly will be lauded as a genius again.