It's going to be very interesting to see how the Philadelphia Eagles address the quarterback position this offseason. Sam Bradford is going to be a free agent. He may or may not want to be back. The Eagles may or may not want him back. Whether Bradford is back or not, the Eagles should really thinking about taking a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft to develop. And they just might do that.
In an interview with Derrick Gunn on CSN Philly, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson hinted at the possible addition of a young passer. Credit to Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice for discovering this. When asked if Pederson thinks the Eagles can win now, this is what he had to say:
"I do. I really do. I think the pieces are there. Great talent on defense. The strength probably on this team is the defensive line, linebackers, tremendous talent there. I think the skill guys are as good, if not better than most of the National Football League, and there’s guys there who have made a lot of plays, young guys, that have made some great plays for this organization. Re-signing a guy like Zach Ertz, I was excited to get him and Brent Celek both wrapped up, Lane Johnson wrapped up.
And then you start just kinda filling in. A hole here, a hole there, get some depth here, you know, get you a young quarterback possibly, and then you just start developing your talent and you see what happens after that."
Interesting. Maybe we're reading too closely into this, but it's worth noting Pederson is a new head coach and might have slipped since he's not super media savvy yet. Or maybe he's just intentionally being honest.
Pederson has been largely noncommital on Bradford so far. Two of Bradford's biggest supporters that brought him to Philadelphia, Chip Kelly and Ed Marynowitz, are no longer with the organization. It's certainly not crazy to think Bradford might not be back. But even if he is, it can't hurt to invest in a developmental option.
The Eagles could be in the position to draft a quarterback as soon as the first round. They own the No. 13 overall pick and there's a decent chance one of the perceived top three quarterbacks (Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and Paxton Lynch) could be there. Or maybe the Eagles plan to take a passer later on.
It's been suggested that the Eagles could opt to move on from Bradford and go with a bridge quarterback while developing a rookie. Chiefs backup quarterback Chase Daniel has often been suggested as a placeholder option.
The Eagles haven't had a stability at the quarterback position since the days of Donovan McNabb. It's not a coincidence that they've never really been true title contenders since then. The team needs to find their franchise quarterback, and they just might do that through the draft.
UPDATE: Pederson had the following to say in Part 2 of his interview with Gunn.
I think the thing with going to Kansas City is we needed a quarterback. We needed one. So the immediate fix is to find the top available free agent. I think in our situation [now], you may not have to go that route. Therefore, the draft, there’s some good quarterbacks in this draft. I’d love to be able to pick one up, develop him, and eventually he becomes your guy over time. Several ways to skin a cat, but I think in our situation, I think we’ve got a quarterback that’s on our roster right now if he’s our guy that we can win with.