With the draft now firmly in the rear view mirror, we are starting to get a better idea of what most teams will look like for the upcoming season. The keyword there is most. There is one team in particular that has painted itself into quite a corner from both a financial and football standpoint.
The Eagles are trying to distance themselves from Chip Kelly as much as possible, and rightly so. The experiment was disastrous for both parties. They now find themselves with an expensive and unproven quarterback depth chart. This is never a good combo.
First, there is last year’s starter Sam Bradford. He is the closest thing to a known commodity the Eagles have at quarterback. The issue is, I am not sure that the commodity is any good. Since entering the league with the Rams in 2010, he has torn the same ACL twice and never led his team to a winning record. The Eagles seemed to be committed to Bradford after last season. They signed him to a two-year extension worth $26 million guaranteed in March. Bradford has since asked for a trade, then rescinded that request after public backlash. Quite frankly though, the request was understandable. The reasons behind that will become clearer as you read this article.
Next, you have career backup Chase Daniel. Daniel has spent the last three seasons as the backup in Kansas City. The offensive coordinator there was Doug Pederson, the Eagles new head coach. Daniel has started just two games in eight seasons. Just a week after the Bradford extension, Daniel was signed to a three-year $21 million deal. $7 million a year is not exactly backup money. After the signing, the Eagles reasserted that Bradford was the starter.
The move I did not see coming was Philadelphia shipping five draft picks to Cleveland for just two in return, including the second overall pick, which they used to draft North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz signed a four-year deal worth $26 million guaranteed.
Unless the Eagles are working on something truly revolutionary, the last time I checked football is only played with one ball. Therefore, only one quarterback can play at a time. No matter how you slice it, two highly paid and high-profile guys are going to sit on the bench and be minimal factors every Sunday. If I was Bradford, I would have asked for a trade too. All Eagles management did all off-season was reiterate their commitment to Bradford in both actions and words. They lied to his face. Eagles’ brass once again said that Bradford was their guy when he reported to off-season activities this past week. Obviously though, the circumstances have drastically changed since Bradford signed the extension. This is the NFL. You do not pay a guy $7 million a year to sit on the bench, the same goes for a guy you trade five draft picks for. In short, even though I asked the question as the title of this article, I have no idea what the Eagles are doing. If anyone thinks they know, feel free to comment below.
I do know this though. The Eagles went 7-9 last year and ranked in the bottom five statistically of almost every major defensive category. Based on that, I would have taken some of that money tied up in the quarterbacks and spent it on bettering the defense through the draft and free agency. What do I know, I am just an insignificant writer/fan. The cast of characters on defense looks as if it will remain basically the same. I would argue they are average to below average at every position on the roster. Thus, the reality is we will likely see a fair bit of all three Eagles quarterbacks this year, though only two can be active on game day. Playing quarterback carousel during the season never leads to good things. Also, I am less than crazy about the fact that Philadelphia’s new head coach has never been the head man in charge at a level higher than high school football. Chip Kelly may be out of Philadelphia and on to San Francisco, but the head scratching decision-making that defined his time there has not gone anywhere.