The 2015 NFL offseason has begun for the Philadelphia Eagles, which means Chip Kelly and his staff will spend the next couple of weeks evaluating the 2014 roster. While the team was able to achieve 10-6 record, they fell short of making the playoff, and there are still many ways the Eagles roster could be improved upon. By the time NFL free agency starts on March 10, the Eagles will have a good idea of which players they'll want to bring back for the 2014 season. Today we'll start this offseason review series by looking at the quarterback position.
Review: Heading into the season, everyone expected Foles to take a step back from his 2013 performance. Natural regression was inevitable. Most did not expect him to struggle to the extent he did, however. The third-year quarterback went from only throwing two interceptions during his sophomore campaign to leading the entire NFL in turnovers in 2014 prior to suffering a season-ending injury in Week 9. Some will attribute Foles' struggles to the lack of a stable offensive line, but consider that he was pressured on 34.3% of his dropbacks in 2013 while being pressured on 34.1% in 2014. While he went 6-2 as a starter (5-2 if you don't count the Texans game), he benefited from the Eagles scoring at an historical pace on defense and special teams. You can make all the excuses you want, but the bottom line is he wasn't good enough, and he needs to be better. All quarterbacks have to deal with adversity. In 2013, Foles proved he could excel when he was surrounded by the perfect situation: healthy offensive line, elite running game, field-stretching wide receiver (DeSean Jackson), etc. In 2014, Foles didn't have the perfect situation but he didn't make the most of it.
Despite this, Foles will likely be back in 2015 as the team's starter due to a lack of better alternatives. It goes without saying that he'll need to better.
Review: There were many groans when the Eagles signed Mark Sanchez in free agency. There were similar groans when Eagles fans watched Sanchez quarterback an Eagles team that lost three straight games down the stretch and got knocked out of the playoffs. To no surprise, the much-maligned Sanchez struggled with turnovers. His reluctance to throw outside the numbers limited the Eagles offense. Despite his struggles, however, he was OK relative to expectations for a backup quarterback. He went 4-4 as a starter (5-4 if you count the Texans game) and his 64.1% completion rate actually set an Eagles franchise record, believe it or not. Still, Sanchez proved that he doesn't belong as a starter in the NFL.
Numbers: 6 snaps, 0 games started, 1 game played, 0/1 (0%)
Review: Matt Barkley would have likely been a healthy scratch all season long if not for the injury to Nick Foles. Barkley's only action came in garbage time during Philadelphia's blowout win over the Panthers. The Eagles could have opted to play Barkley in the team's meaningless Week 17 finale against the Giants but stuck with Sanchez instead. The team has been in no rush to get him out on the field.
Spent the season Eagles' practice squad for the second straight year. He's the ultimate practice squad player. Kinne signed a reserve/futures contract with the Eagles after the season ended.
Who Could Leave
Mark Sanchez only signed a one-year deal last offseason so that means he will be a free agent in March. The Eagles might want to keep him around as a reliable backup, but they might have competition from other teams. Chip Kelly often stresses the important of having two quarterbacks so a Sanchez return can't be ruled out.
Matt Barkley was reportedly on the trade block during the Eagles' final cuts. The Houston Texans tried to trade for Barkley before they ended up acquiring Ryan Mallett from New England. It doesn't seem the Eagles are very high on the former USC quarterback. Perhaps they could revisit trade talks, though it likely wouldn't net much in return.
Who Could Sign
As always, the quarterback free agent market is slim pickings. The 30-year-old Matt Moore is probably one of the better options. The injury-prone Jake Locker could an interesting reclamation project. Kelly likes his PAC12 guys and Locker went to Washington. Baltimore's Tyrod Taylor could be worth a flier.
The 2015 NFL Draft class doesn't seem to offer great quarterback options. Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are the top names, and while not impossible, it's hard to count on them falling into range of the Eagles' pick at No. 20 overall. Brett Hundley, Bryce Petty, and Blake Sims could be names to watch. A player like Brandon Bridge would be a late round project.