The Philadelphia Eagles have a problem at their quarterback position. Admittedly, not the same problem as quarterback-needy teams like the Cleveland Browns, because the Eagles have a quality starter at the position in Nick Foles. The problem that the Eagles face lies on their depth chart. Who steps up if Foles can’t go?
The current back-up quarterback, Michael Vick, is an unrestricted free agent and is incredibly unlikely to sign a deal with the Eagles. He wants to compete for a starting place and it looks likely that a team like the New York Jets will offer him a chance to stake a claim. As far as I can tell, Vick is as good as gone.
Third string quarterback Matt Barkley is an interesting case. He was highly rated going into his final year at college, but injuries and poor production caused him to fall in the draft. Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly took a gamble with Barkley, who was forced into action, appearing in 3 games as Foles and Vick struggled with injuries. His performance in those three games were inconsistent at best, with a completion percentage of only 61.2%, 4 interceptions and 3 fumbles. In comparison, Nick Foles only had two interceptions all season. Admittedly, Barkley played in difficult situations, often needing to sling the ball around to get back into a game. However, he made risky throws and didn’t display some of the decision making that had made him successful earlier in his college year. Do the Eagles trust him enough to become the main back up when Vick moves on? I’m not sure that I do.
So, what do the Eagles do? If a quarterback falls to them at 22, do they take him? I doubt it very much, as using a first round pick on a player usually means they will start and Nick Foles isn’t going anywhere. Even taking a quarterback in the second round could potentially create some uncertainty at the position. The Eagles, then, may end up choosing a back up from the lower rounds of the draft where it becomes far more of a lottery. Alternatively, they may look at a veteran like GJ Kinne or Dennis Dixon, who both spent time with the Eagles last season. Would the Eagles be happy with Kinne, Dixon or a third-round pick backing up Foles? Would any of those players be better than Barkley? Again, I’m not so sure.
That leaves free agency, where Vick is probably the pick of the crop. Chicago Bears QB Josh McCown is likely out of the Eagles reach and Matt Cassel didn’t show enough with the Minnesota Vikings last year. Could Josh Freeman, who endured a horrendous season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings, be an option? He’s young, has shown potential prior to 2013 and may flourish in the right circumstances. Could he just be the best of a bad bunch of choices for the Eagles?