Gardner Takes Cut in Effort to Stick with Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Veteran offensive lineman Andrew Gardner didn’t have much of a future in Philadelphia before the team traded Dennis Kelly to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for receiver Dorial Green-Beckham on Tuesday.
That move, though, opened up a spot on the team’s final 53 for a versatile backup on the O-Line and Gardner is doing everything he can to make it more palatable for Philadelphia to keep him, agreeing to a pay cut down from $1.2 million to the veteran’s minimum of $760,000, according to ESPN.
In exchange for the giveback, Gardner gets the opportunity to earn $300K more in added incentives if he’s still around in 2018.
Gardner was the starter at right guard under Chip Kelly in 2015 until suffering a Lisfranc injury in Week 3 against the New York Jets, ending his season.
By the time he was back on the field this offseason, Kelly was in San Francisco and Doug Pederson was now in charge in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the organization signed the high-priced Brandon Brooks to elevate the play at RG and shifted Gardner out to left tackle, where he had been working behind both Jason Peters and Matt Tobin.
Peters’ latest quad injury gave Gardner to get a lot of playing time against Tampa Bay in the preseason opener and he did not perform well, especially as a pass blocker.
“I’ve played a lot of left tackle in the past,” Gardner told 973espn.com after the game, “so I’m not making any excuses but it is an adjustment and then coming back from the injury. It will get better. I have to just keep working.”
Gardner’s fate was likely sealed before Dennis Kelly was shipped out but now he will be given another opportunity to prove himself as a versatile player who can at least hold down the fort at every position along the OL except center.
In fact, Roseman specifically mentioned Gardner and rookie fifth-round pick Halapoulivaati Vaitai as players who have an opportunity in the wake of the DGB deal.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen