Now that Carson Wentz has been traded, the Philadelphia Eagles are looking a bit slim at the quarterback position. Not to mention that Nate Sudfeld is set to be a free agent as well, but that’s not much of a loss for Philadelphia. Regardless, the Eagles are clearly in rebuild mode, but they still need to find a solid backup quarterback. Jalen Hurts is most likely the choice to be the starter, barring a first-round quarterback pick that would shake things up.
If Philadelphia officially decides to go with Hurts, they will need a reliable backup quarterback, anyway. Free Agency starts soon, but Philadelphia will not be a big part because of their salary cap. The organization is making efforts to address the issue, as seen from the Darius Slay $9.14 million contract restructure. Yet, with their backup quarterback situation being so apparent, they definitely need to make a move. While drafting a quarterback later in the draft could help, signing a cheap veteran free agent provides even more help.
While Jalen Hurts is going to be receiving plenty of coaching from quarterback coach Brian Johnson, he would benefit from a mentor. That mentor could be Tyrod Taylor who has plenty of NFL experience and has a similar play style to Hurts. Taylor spent the last few years with the Los Angeles Chargers, but Justin Herbert appears to the Chargers’ answer. Therefore, Taylor will be in search of a new home, and Philadelphia is a candidate. He had solid production when he was with the Buffalo Bills, but not so much in Los Angeles. In his two years with the Chargers, he was only able to rack up a little under 250 passing yards and one touchdown. Injury and other aspects impacted his production, but that lack of production plays into the Eagles’ favor.
Taylor would not appear to be the easiest or cheapest option for Philadelphia, but that may not be true. He is coming off his two-year $11 million deal with the Chargers, but he did not play up to what he received. The decline he experienced in Los Angeles is leverage for Philadelphia. It means they could pay less for him since he has not shown as much success as before. Nevertheless, Philadelphia is showing that they are going to still try to be present in free agency will contract restructures. If enough restructures happen, the salary cap issue will not be as terrible, and signing a guy like Taylor isn’t so unlikely. Hurts needs a strong backup who can teach him how to maintain his improvising style of play and do it effortlessly. Taylor can be a mentor for Hurts who will give him more confidence.
Although the 36-year old Flacco is nearing the end of his career, Philadelphia could take advantage of what remains. Flacco has been in the NFL since 2008, so his experience is not in question, but his regression has been evident. Despite his decline in play, his knowledge of the game would be beneficial for Jalen Hurts to receive. The former Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl MVP may still have something left in the tank. For Philadelphia, having a trustworthy and reliable backup quarterback is an absolute necessity. Although Flacco is getting older, that should not prevent Philadelphia from considering him as an option. After Carson Wentz’s abrupt exit against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2019 playoff game, they turned to Josh McCown, who was 40 years old at the time and almost won.
It is hard to see Flacco’s age being a major factor for Philadelphia when finding a backup quarterback. Although Flacco is older and has also bounced around the league a bit, his numbers are still respectable. With the Denver Broncos, Flacco only played eight games but was able to accumulate slightly over 1,800 passing yards. In five games with the struggling New York Jets, he threw for close to 1,000 passing yards. While his statistics are not what they used to be, he still gets the job done. After being in the league for so long, lending Hurts his knowledge will set him a step ahead of teams.
When searching for backup quarterback possibilities, Philadelphia needs to search for cheap guys who can still contribute. Bortles may be a solid option because of the success that he showed in 2017, but his positive play fluctuates. His promising play in 2017 to reach the AFC Championship appeared to have sizzled and lead him to free agency. Bortles has been thrown around a bit since he departed from the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent the last season with the Los Angeles Rams, but he on the market again. There is extensive production that justifies him as a reliable option, so he is a potentially risky choice. For Philadelphia, he’d strictly be brought in as a backup, so the risk is much smaller and he is a cheaper option to explore.
Although he is an option that would not impact the salary cap too much, it is hard to say what they could get in return. If they need to play him due to an injury to Hurts, it is hard to say that they could trust him to get the job done. He had pretty strong seasons spent with Jacksonville, so that helps his case, but there is no guarantee that he’ll replicate it. Additionally, Bortles is not exactly a big-time veteran to pass along knowledge for Hurts. Yet, nothing is known for certain, perhaps he could be a larger help than expected, but Bortles is much questionable. In this case, Philadelphia considering Bortles strictly gives them a backup quarterback without a big cap hit, that’s it. Although he may not be the most popular option, the signing would have its positives.
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