The Eagles brought back one member of an offensive line that helped them win Super Bowl LII and added another quarterback in a pair of moves on Monday.
Stefen Wisniewski will return after being released in March, and he will do so at a reduced price. The Eagles cut Wisniewski rather than pick up his $3.7 million team-option contract. Now, he will play for $1.5 million with an additional $500,000 in incentives.
The second signing delivered Cody Kessler, who went 2-2 as Jacksonville’s signal-caller last year while filling in for ineffective Blake Bortles.
The Eagles now have three quarterbacks on the roster who were drafted in 2016, spearheaded, of course, by the No. 2 selection that year, Carson Wentz. The other is Nate Sudfeld, who was a sixth-round pick (No. 187 overall) of the Redskins that year.
Kessler, who played at the University of Southern California, was the 93rd player taken overall in the 2016 draft, 91 spots after the Eagles selected Wentz with the second overall selection.
In corresponding moves, the Eagles released quarterback Luis Perez and running back Nico Evans. Perez was signed after the AAF folded. Evans was one of 10 undrafted free agents the team signed after the draft ended.
The signing of Wisniewski gives the Eagles some depth along the interior of their line.
With the uncertainty surrounding when right guard Brandon Brooks will return from offseason Achilles surgery, Wisniewski adds a veteran presence that includes second-year player Matt Pryor and undrafted free agents Ryan Bates, Sua Opeta, and Nate Herbig.
Head coach Doug Pederson said last Friday that Halapoulivaati Vaitai will be cross-trained at tackle and guard after spending his first three seasons as the top reserve at both left and right tackle.
The addition of Wisniewski means Vaitai’s learning curve won’t have to be rushed.
Kessel has He’s played 17 games, with 12 starts. As a rookie with the Browns, he played in nine games with eight starts. He completed 65 percent of his throws that season with six touchdowns and two interceptions.
For his career, Kessler has thrown eight touchdowns and five interceptions.
Kessler has the sort of game experience, for better or worse, that Sudfeld lacks. So Kessler’s presence certainly will present some competition for Sudfeld to be the top backup behind Wentz.
Clayton Thorson can’t be overlooked in the battle to win that job, either. Though he is a fifth-round draft and projects as a developmental quarterback, Thorson could surprise as spring OTAs roll into a June minicamp then July training camp.