The Philadelphia Eagles solved their third-string quarterback problem by signing Nick Mullens on Monday. It was an expected move, one that bolsters depth at the position and might even create a controversy for the backup job behind Jalen Hurts.
Mullens flashed talent in 16 career starts for the San Francisco 49ers: 387-for-600 (64.5%) for 4,714 yards and 25 touchdowns. The major knock on the 26-year-old has been his inability to hang on to the football. Mullens has 30 total turnovers in 19 games, including 22 interceptions and eight fumbles since 2018. But there is a lot to like about the undrafted player out of Southern Miss.
San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan credited Mullens’ ability to read defenses “the right way” and throw the ball “without hesitation” (via Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn). There was a time Mullens was considered a threat to unseat Jimmy Garoppolo out there as the starter. Plus, the Alabama native has put himself in some rare company over his first three seasons.
Mullens ranks second only to Patrick Mahomes for most passing yards in his first 16 starts. He has racked up 4,405 yards to 5,100 for Mahomes. No one is saying he’s on the same level as the MVP quarterback and Super Bowl champion for the Kansas City Chiefs, but it is a telling stat. This is the young, developmental guy the Eagles needed to push Joe Flacco in training camp. Heck, he could even challenge Hurts.
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Mullens Shattered Records at Southern Miss
Despite going undrafted out of Southern Miss in 2017, there was considerable hype around the 6-foot-1, 210-pound quarterback. Mullens broke a number of Brett Favre’s records at the school and received a congratulatory phone call from the Hall of Famer prior to his NFL debut in 2018. He led the 49ers to a 34-3 win over the Raiders while posting an insane 151.9 passer rating in that one.
“He just told me how proud of me he was,” Mullens told the Sun Herald at the time. “He sent me a message before the game. He said, ‘No pressure. Just be yourself,’ and that’s what I tried to do before the game and during the game. So, just tried to stay calm out there and lead the offense.”
Mullens was Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year at Southern Miss in 2015. He threw for 11,994 yards and 87 touchdowns (46 interceptions) in 44 college games, including a 447-yard effort at Nebraska. Mullens set seven different single-season records during his breakout 2015 campaign.
Veteran Minimum Salary for Veteran QB?
Contract details weren’t immediately released for Mullens but it’s likely the Eagles inked him for the veteran minimum of $920,000 (via Spotrac). He earned $750,000 last year in San Francisco and finished with 2,437 passing yards in 10 games (eight starts). It’s a good price for a seasoned veteran quarterback.
Remember, it was Mullens’ smiling face that infamously appeared on a “Sunday Night Football” promo teasing the upcoming 49ers-Eagles game last year in Week 4. The Eagles won that contest 25-20 but it signaled the beginning of the end for Wentz. Mullens went 18-of-26 (69.2%) for 200 yards and one touchdown (two interceptions) against Philadelphia that night.
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