Eagles Backup QB Talks Jalen Hurts & ‘Competition in NFL’

Eagles Nate Sudfeld Injury

Getty Nate Sudfeld should see plenty of work for the Eagles.

When the Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round, it was widely assumed the rookie would usurp the backup duties in Philadelphia. But Nate Sudfeld might have something to say about that.

The fourth-year quarterback out of Indiana had the backup spot locked up last year until an unfortunate wrist injury on Aug. 8 re-opened the competition. The Eagles went out and signed veteran backup Josh McCown as Sudfeld rehabbed. He returned to practice one month after suffering a broken wrist and was cleared to go in Week 4.

Unfortunately, McCown had solidified the job and Sudfeld remained a healthy scratch for the rest of the season. Fast forward to 2020. Sudfeld, who has only thrown 25 passes in the regular season, is once again in the mix to be the backup to Carson Wentz. He’ll have to earn that spot on the depth chart with a strong training camp and preseason.

“You are always going to have competition in the NFL. That brings out the best in you,” Sudfeld told Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. “I can only focus on getting myself better and showing the best of me this season. I’m ready for that.”

This year, he’ll be battling Hurts. The dual-threat wunderkind was the 53rd overall pick in the draft and appears to be the forbidden apple of Doug Pederson’s eye. The Eagles also inked Philly native Kyle Lauletta to a futures contract in the offseason. He was the scout team quarterback last year on the practice squad.

“Jalen is an incredible teammate and player and I think he’s going to have a great, long career. Kyle is awesome, too, and then, obviously, Carson,” Sudfeld told Spadaro. “If somebody goes down, it’s the next man up.”

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Eagles Sign Sudfeld to One-Year Contract

Sudfeld could be nearing the end of his ride in Philly, at least that’s what the Hurts’ pick seemed to suggest. The Eagles did sign the 26-year-old to a one-year contract back in March before the draft. The deal is worth $2 million ($500,000 signing bonus), per OverTheCap.

From an outside perspective, Pederson has never been too enamored with Sudfeld. He was very quick to bring in McCown last year and hand him the backup role even after Sudfeld was given a clean bill of health. In Pederson’s four seasons patrolling the Eagles’ sideline, he has overvalued the backup quarterback spot. It makes sense considering the coach was a career No. 2 himself.

In 2016, the Eagles signed journeyman Chase Daniel to a massive three-year, $21 million deal and then inked the now legendary Nick Foles to a two-year, $11 million contract in 2017. McCown assumed the backup role in 2019 after Foles went to Jacksonville.

But the Eagles have maintained they believe in Sudfeld. Pederson indicated that the former sixth-round pick could be the long-term solution behind Wentz. But a one-year contract doesn’t feel that way. Bottom line, he has to win an open competition.

“We feel very comfortable with Nate,” Pederson told reporters after the draft. “He was having a tremendous spring, really good training camp last year before the injury and it was unfortunate because we felt like Nate was going to go into the season as possibly the No. 2 quarterback last year, so we feel very comfortable with Nate.”

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