It looked like he was going to slip away via free agency, but Derek Landri will be back in midnight green in 2012. The journeyman defensive tackle signed a one-year deal with the Eagles on Monday morning. Adam Caplan reports the contract could be worth a up to $1.875 million, with $500k guaranteed.
Landri was brought in for depth during training camp, and initially released afterwards. When Antonio Dixon suffered a season-ending injury in Week 4, Landri got the call, and showed everyone he probably should've made the team to begin with. In limited playing time, Landri scored two sacks and a pass deflect in 2011, and made a much bigger impact than those numbers suggest.
According to ProFootballFocus, Landri was the ninth-best interior defensive lineman available in free agency, as he finished in the top 10 in both their run stop and pass rush measures. Very impressive for a castoff.
Landri seemed to thrive in the wide nine alignment of the defensive line, and wasn't pressed to be an every-down player like he was in his previous stop at Carolina. As a result, he was in the middle of practically everything whenever he was on the field, becoming something of a fan favorite along the way. We're certainly glad to see one of the defense's most productive players return.
It remains to be seen whether Landri will alter the Eagles' draft plans at all, but probably not. Both he and Antonio Dixon are only signed through this year, along with second-year player Cedric Thornton, who did not appear in a game last season. Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson are the only tackles under contract for multiple seasons, and neither are getting any younger.
According to Reuben Frank, the Eagles were forced to scrap a long-term deal with Landri after the Jason Peters injury/Demetress Bell
signing. Still, that tidbit indicates the team is very high on the 28-year-old defensive tackle. Who knows whether or not Landri can match or exceed his level of production from last season in 2012, but it was wise to bring back a player who excelled in Jim Washburn's front.
The Eagles have now re-upped all four of their own "high priority" free agents.