Cole Signs One-Year Tender
By Lance Epstein
Today, the Eagles announced that offensive lineman Nick Cole has signed his restricted free agent tendered at the second-round level. He agreed to the one-year contract.
Cole, 25, is expected to begin the 2010 season at center, while Jamaal Jackson recovers from his torn ACL that he suffered in week 16 against the Broncos. Once Jackson returns, he should compete with Stacy Andrews for the starting right guard position.
This past season, Cole started all 16 games for the Eagles, but not all at one position. He started nine games at right guard, six games at left guard and then finished the season as the starting center in place of the injured Jackson.
His versatility is one reason that the Eagles signed him as a undrafted free agent in 2006. He has the ability to play every position on the interior line and at a high level. It is even possible for Cole to play tackle since he started 40 straight games at New Mexico State as both a guard and tackle.
In his four-year career, Cole (6-0, 350) has started 22 games, four playoff games and has seen action in 64 regular season games.
This might not be the most glamorous pick up, but Cole definitely helps the Eagles out in multiple ways. First, he adds depth to the offensive line position. If Jackson cannot recover from, Cole can step in and start. Also if Andrews never pans out, Cole's best position is at guard. His toughness and mean streak make him a solid starter.
Second, the signing of Cole allows the Eagles to focus on the defensive side of the ball with the 24th and 37th picks in the draft. While the Eagles could still select an offensive lineman, he permits the Eagles to go into the season with an adequate starting center or if Jackson is healthy, competition at the right guard position with Andrews. With that in mind, the Eagles cold go all out in trying to finish the rebuilding project that is the defense.
Finally, Cole might have been the most consistent player on the offensive line last year. Without him, the Eagles would have been in deep trouble since he and Winston Justice were the only two players on the line to start all 16 games.
With Cole in the fold, only OL Max Jean-Giles and punter Sav Rocca have not signed their RFA tenders. They have until April 15 to sign.