The Eagles signed defensive lineman Cedric Thornton to a one-year deal on Monday. The deal was more of a formality because Thornton was an exclusive rights free agent, so he was not free to sign anywhere else. He has played only two accrued seasons in the NFL, so Thornton will be a restricted free agent next season.
Thornton, who will turn 26 in June, started all 16 games for the Eagles in 2014. He finished with 78 tackles and one sack, and was a key member of the defensive line. At 6-foot-4 and 309 pounds, Thornton was versatile enough to play different spots on the line and was a valuable run stuffer. Coach Chip Kelly often praised Thornton, who went from small-school prospect to undrafted free agent to practice squad to reserve to starter.
The Eagles now have seven defensive linemen under contract at an average age of 24.6 years old. All three starters -- Thornton, Fletcher Cox, and Bennie Logan -- are returning. The only free agent on the line is Clifton Geathers.