Who Will Be the Eagles Quarterback in 2015?
By Jesse Shuter
Dec 7, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez (3) during warm ups before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
After a disappointing loss to the Seattle Seahawks including two turnovers and only fourteen points, the Philadelphia Eagles have a lot of questions to answer on offense. The first of which should be, who is playing quarterback for the Eagles. This year it is a relatively simple answer, Mark Sanchez is far and away the best option the Eagles have at least until Nick Foles comes back from his injury. That being said, the real question is, who will be the Eagles quarterback when 2015 rolls around?
There are quite a few possibilities, very few of which excite me. There is no quarterback the caliber of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in the draft, and even if there were there is no way the Eagles could get him without giving away a fortune. The way I see it the Eagles have three outlets to find their quarterback.
The first option is to stick with what they have. Nick Foles is under contract for another year at a very cheap salary. This gives the Eagles a fall back, and not a very bad one at that. Foles could also be incredible trade bait. Let’s imagine the Eagles want draft picks, or even a specific player in the draft. Foles and his measley salary could bring in quite a bit if the right team appears interested in him. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers for example are most likely going to have a very high draft pick and a strong need for a quarterback. They may not see top quarterback prospect Marcus Mariota as a good fit for their offensive scheme and opt instead to trade for a package including Foles.
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Aside from Foles, the Eagles have quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley. Barkley, while mediocre at best, is most likely not going anywhere as he is a decent enough third string quarterback. Sanchez on the other hand has been a very solid quarterback for the Eagles up to this point, however, he is set to become a free agent at the end of the season.
This leads me to the second outlet, which is free agency or trade. Sanchez would most likely be the Eagles top target should they go this route since he is familiar with and has had some success within head coach Chip Kelly’s system. There will most likely be mutual interest, but the salary may be tough to determine since it would be unclear if Sanchez is a starter or backup yet he would want starter money. He would most likely settle on a deal worth around five million a year at the most.
Dec 7, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) rushes against the New York Giants during the second half at LP Field. Giants defeated the Titans 36-7. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
As far as other options from free agency, the only real other option there are former Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and then Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker. Locker has the speed and arm to possibly be successful in Chip Kelly’s offense and could be an interesting signing.
One last sleeper idea is Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jason Campbell. Campbell has shown to be a very talented quarterback in the past, but the knock on him is that he isn’t the brightest quarterback and has trouble learning play books. This would most likely be an issue.
As far as trades go, there are a few interesting names rumored to be available. The first is Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin is a very intelligent quarterback who has struggled as of late. He is very good as a runner, but he seems to have lost his confidence in himself an is no longer reading defenses well. This could be a fun project for Chip Kelly and a seamless fit for his offense. The catch is that the Eagles would have to overpay since they are in the same division as the Redskins. The best shot at getting Griffin would be if he was released after no success with a trade.
Nov 30, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) lays on the ground after being tackled Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (not pictured) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills won 26-10. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Another option, dare I say it, is Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns. Manziel has not shown much that leads me to believe he is capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. That being said, Chip Kelly attempted to recruit him in college and the Eagles have been continuously linked to Manziel. If the price is cheap enough Kelly could take a flier on Manziel and at the very worst use him as the Eagles’ backup.
Finally we have the draft. The obvious choice is Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota as he is familar with Chip Kelly and his system and is a perfect fit. If the Eagles do not feel the need, or have the ability to get Mariota they could try and get Florida State product Jameis Winston who has a similar skill set. Winston is more of a pocket passer, but he has a better arm then Mariota which is important in the NFL.
Other than those two no names jump out at you as a great fit. I am a big fan of Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, but he is not a very good fit for the Eagles offense. Dak Prescott of Mississippi State could be an interesting idea. Prescott has a lot of the raw tools.
An interesting later round pick could be Alabama quarterback Blake Sims. Sims was a first time starter but improved very fast for Alabama and may lead them to a championship. Sims has the raw tools Chip Kelly looks for and he is intelligent after working with head coach Nick Saban in college.
Dec 5, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is pressured by Arizona Wildcats defensive end Reggie Gilbert (84) in the Pac-12 Championship at Levi
The best chance for the Eagles to be successful, in my opinion, is to get Marcus Mariota. He has all the raw tools Chip Kelly looks for and would be the perfect fit in our offense. The Eagles should re-sign Mark Sanchez to be the starter and let Mariota develop behind him for a year. Then trade Foles to move up and get Mariota. Foles is a great quarterback but it doesn’t seem like Chip Kelly feels he is right for the Eagles. Kelly claims he can make his system fit any quarterback, but wouldn’t it be nice if a quarterback fit his system. It should be interesting to see what the Eagles do.