After Nate Sudfeld went down with a possible broken arm or wrist Thursday night, the topic soon turned to digging through the scrap heap to find a new backup quarterback. That might be the worst-case scenario, but it’s something the Philadelphia Eagles have to think about now.
Fourth-year quarterback Cody Kessler is listed as the team’s third-stringer and took the extra snaps against Tennessee. His play on the field left a ton to be desired. Of course, the second- and third-team wide receivers didn’t do Kessler any favors in getting open. Rookie Clayton Thorson would be the next man up, another guy that looks extremely unpolished and unreliable should something happen to starter Carson Wentz.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson had been very complimentary of Sudfeld earlier this week and spoke glowingly of giving him more reps this preseason. Hopefully, the team still has a chance to do that, although it doesn’t look good.
“You know, the goal would be to get him [Sudfeld] as much time as we can behind center in these four games,” said Pederson. “I don’t want him to feel like there’s any kind of pressure but there’s always pressure to just go perform and just play. He’s very comfortable with the offense.”
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So, what free agents are out there? Well, it’s not a long list. And it’s definitely not a confidence-inspiring list.
Yes, that Sam Bradford. He’s the guy that kind of paved the way for the Eagles to both draft Carson Wentz and bring back Nick Foles after Chip Kelly left Philadelphia in shambles. The nine-year veteran is a free agent and he started three rather forgettable games last year for Arizona. Bradford went 50-of-80 for 400 yards, with two touchdowns against four interceptions.
“Sammy Sleeves” — as the Philly faithful affectionately nicknamed him during his one-year stint with the Eagles — isn’t a flashy choice, but he’s available and that’s important. Of course, the concern always with Bradford is his own brittle bones. The 30-year-old has missed 48 games out of 128 possible matchups.
Brock Osweiler hasn’t exactly oozed confidence since the Denver Broncos took him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. However, he has flashed flares of hope here and there and was once deemed the heir apparent to Peyton Manning.
In seven NFL seasons, Osweiler has thrown for 7,418 yards with 37 touchdowns against 31 interceptions. Not too shabby for a guy that has bounced around more than Sprinkles the Clown in a sandwich shop’s dumpster. Even bringing him in as a third-stringer might not be a terrible idea. Osweiler, that is, not Sprinkles.
Like Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez is another guy that has familiarity with the Eagles having played here for two uneventful seasons. Sanchez almost led Philadelphia into the playoffs in 2014. Almost. He took over the starting job in Week 9 and led the Eagles to a 4-4 mark down the stretch. It wasn’t enough to sneak into the playoffs.
Sanchez threw for 2,418 yards that season and threw 14 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. He held down a 64.1 completion percentage, too. But the 32-year-old just announced his retirement and took a high-profile gig as a college football analyst with ESPN. It would take an often lot to lure him back to the NFL grind
While he hasn’t thrown an NFL pass since 2017, that might not matter. Landry Jones was an accomplished athlete at the University of Oklahoma where he threw for 16,646 passing yards and 123 touchdowns. Jones tried out for the Oakland Raiders last March and competed for two months before being cut.
It was later revealed that Raiders coach Jon Gruden was just using the former Steelers quarterback to help another former Steeler (Antonio Brown) get acclimated to the playbook. The 30-year-old has had some success in the league, though. He actually owns a winning record, 3-2 in five starts with Pittsburgh.
You knew it was going to land on Colin Kaepernick at some point. Here it is. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback is begging to make a comeback in the NFL as evidenced by his recent workout video, and he kind of fits in perfectly with what the Eagles do on offense. He’s extremely athletic and can make plays with his feet, ideal for a team adept at RPO.
Kaepernick also has a cannon for an arm. More importantly, he’s fresh — the 31-year-old hasn’t played a game in 890 days. Could he be a distraction? Yes. But if Nate Sudfeld is out for any length of time, it might be worth looking at Kaepernick’s 12,271 career passing yards and 72 touchdowns.
The Kaepernick rumblings have continued to pick up steam throughout the early part of the day on Friday. Some analysts are calling for the Eagles to bring him in for a workout.
Time will tell whether this pans out or has any real traction, but the chatter of a Kaepernick return to the NFL is heating up once again.