This really feels like year that the Eagles draft a quarterback.
The last time the Eagles took one was Carson Wentz. That was three years ago. It certainly feels like it’s time to go get another one, especially because there are only two on the roster at the moment and the available free agent passers are really, well, yuk.
Head coach Doug Pederson touched on the quarterback situation on Tuesday morning when he sat down for breakfast with reporters gathered in Phoenix for the annual owner’s meeting.
“We’re always looking at quarterbacks,” said Pederson, “and if there’s a guy out there that can fit, a developmental type guy, maybe even competes as the third, comes in and competes as the third or you keep on the practice squad, I’m always encouraged by that. I think you have to continue to find those guys and develop quarterbacks and prepare them.”
Right now, the Eagles need a third quarterback. With Nick Foles making his new home in Jacksonville now, the team has only Nate Sudfeld backing up Carson Wentz.
Wentz may not even be ready to compete once OTAs begin in May, though Pederson said he is optimistic that Wentz will be ready to go after a back injury prevented him from finishing his second straight season healthy.
“Obviously he’s still rehabbing and getting himself healthy and strong and, again, just like we’ve done in the past with him, we’re just going to be patient and let him get strong and not put any timetable on him,” said Pederson. “When he’s ready, he’s ready. We’re optimistic that he’ll be ready to go for OTAs, but, again, we’re not going to push it.”
Wentz certainly has to show that he can stay healthy to play all 16 games, something he did in rookie year of 2016, but not since then. Developing a rapport with his teammates in spring workouts would certainly be beneficial to both quarterback and his teammates.
“I don’t think (the back) will allow him to miss that much time,” said Pederson. “He was rehabbing a knee (heading into the 2018 offseason and into the regular season) and that was major. This is just a matter of making sure everything is right with him and his body and when he’s ready to go he’s ready to go, but again I’m optimistic he won’t miss that much time.”
Wentz could begin the season with a new contract.
On Monday, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said the Eagles will be giving Wentz a new contract at some point, whether that’s in the coming weeks, during the season or next offseason, Wentz isn’t going anywhere.
“It goes without saying we have a quarterback that we’re committed to that we want to sign to an extension,” said Roseman. “Obviously having Carson here long term is our goal and we’ll work towards that.”
The Eagles could afford to do it right now, since they are about $25 million beneath the league’s salary cap.
After Wentz, though, there’s Sudfeld and nobody else.
“I’m excited about Nate,” said Pederson. “This will be another big spring for him, another giant step in his progression and we were encouraged where he was at the end of the year and I think where he can go this season,” said Pederson.
As for who will compete with Sudfeld for the right to back up Wentz, drat-heads need to start paying attention to the quarterbacks available in the draft. Pederson believes the QB crop in this year’s draft has some worthy candidates to be a part of the Eagles’ roster.
“It’s really good,” said Pederson of this year’s group. “It’s one of the positions now that when I get back home I’m going to spend more time looking at it. I haven’t really looked at all the quarterbacks so far, but of the ones I’ve seen, it’s pretty healthy to find that end of day two maybe day three guy that you bring in and develop and see what happens.”
The Eagles have seven picks in the draft.
They certainly won’t grab one in the first two round and do not have a third round selection, which means a quarterback would likely come from the third and final day of the draft. If not then, one will without a doubt arrive via the undrafted free agent signing period that begins as soon as the draft concludes.