Manning? Flynn? RGIII? No one is saddened that the Vince Young Era in Philadelphia has ended but the Eagles QB position has been a bit of a Merry Go Round following a decade of stability. Less than a year ago the news was that Vince Young was headed into town to replace Kevin Kolb as the Eagles backup QB. Kolb had once been the starter supplanting the departed Donovan McNabb but was sidelined with a concussion to open the 2010 season. Michael Vick’s return to the NFL took center stage and Kolb never really did get his job back. Spending a year (a la Wally Pipp) playing second fiddle to The Human Highlight Reel, Kolb was traded to Arizona where he signed a $60M contract to be a poor man’s Kurt Warner. Meanwhile back on Broad Street, Vince Young was quoted as dubbing the Eagles a “Dream Team” en route to a nightmare season.
Young and third-string Mike Kafka were slated to be the insurance policy against Vick’s $100M propensity for splaying himself all over the field and rarely playing a full season. In 7 games (3 starts) Young managed some seriously sad numbers (66-114 or 58% completion, 866 yards, 4 TD, 9 INT for 60.9 QB Rating) and proved that he was not The Answer (unless the question was “Which backup QB will cost a lot of money and be outplayed by third stringer Mike Kafka?”). Kafka incidentally played in 4 games, went 11-16 (68%) for just 107 yards and managed 2 INT with 0 TD. Despite his performance being “Kafkaesque” by comparison, he made fewer mistakes than Young. The lesson here is that Michael Vick better not get hurt or Doug Pederson (Eagles QB Coach) may be forced to make an appearance under center!
On Thursday, the Eagles announced they’ve signed Trent Edwards to a one-year deal. Edwards mind you who just last season was cut by the Oakland Raiders in favor of Kyle Boller! The former Stanford product and #1-rated QB (USA Today, 2001) may be best known as part of the 2007 Buffalo Bills Willis McGahee trade or for being labeled “Captain Checkdown” during his time in Buffalo.
After being replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick and waived by Buffalo in 2010, Edwards stood on the sidelines wearing a Jacksonville Jaguars uniform. Eventually he found himself in a game when David Garrard was hurt and the Monday Night Football spotlight proved what most already knew… Edwards performance (14-24, 140 yards, 2 INT, 0 TD) was just about what he was capable of against an NFL defense. In his career 36 games, Edwards has offered about a 60% completion rate, 25 TD to 30 INT (1:1.2 ratio) and 67 sacks. Proof positive to even casual football fans that we have seen what he can and can’t do and what he can do is not very impressive. He sat through all of 2011 after being cut by Oakland despite desperate QB situations in Kansas City, Miami, Washington, Cleveland and Houston.
The Eagles now have three quarterbacks on the roster: Michael Vick, Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards. There is no reason to believe that all three will remain with the Eagles going into next season and in fact the signing of Edwards may prove a theory that Philadelphia is trying to find a way to get in position to draft a QB – which would likely require a blockbuster trade.
Michael Vick is obviously a given, and Howie Roseman indicated to the media at the NFL Combine that Kafka and Edwards will compete for the backup role. It is entirely reasonable to ponder that the Eagles would likely add another veteran quarterback before training camp starts up in about five months.
Considering Edwards couldn’t make an NFL roster last season, he had every reason to take this deal with the Eagles. No one is handing Edwards or Kafka the keys to Philadelphia’s dynamic offense just yet. Kafka has been a bit of an enigma as we should find out what the team really thinks of him this offseason. Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg and Howie Roseman have consistently talked up Kafka since they drafted him in the fourth round in 2010 (much as Kevin Kolb has been touted after being a second round 2007 draft find). If Kafka earns the role as Vick’s backup over Edwards, we’ll know they truly believe what they’ve been saying.
Once free agency starts (March 13), the Eagles would be free to make another addition with a wide array of options. No one knows whether or not Peyton Manning may be available but it would be more likely Philadelphia would be targeting from a talent pool of Matt Flynn, Kyle Orton, Jason Campbell and, ironically Donovan McNabb. Several other veterans could become available as teams tweak their rosters due to salary structure and draft results.
As others have noted, perhaps it doesn’t make sense to draft a potential franchise QB with Andy Reid facing an uncertain future and so many glaring needs on defense. Reid’s contract will be up after 2012 and by then the Eagles will be either celebrating their first Super Bowl trophy (1948 and 1960 NFL Championships) or reinventing themselves at the hand of a new regime.
Best to keep major changes to a minimum and make one more run with the talent available. Spending all of that money on Cullen Jenkins, Nnamdi Asomugha and Michael Vick last season was an investment in a championship – but that also came while wasting money on Vince Young, Ronnie Brown and a revamped coaching staff. Perhaps the Asante Samuel, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson contract situations will determine a course of action based solely on finances?
Certainly the Eagles are expecting Reid to have some degree of success next season and trading up to grab talent like Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck in the Top 5 would mean trading serious talent. It would also mean that Vick would have to be part of any deal to bring back either of those draft prospects or a free agent like Peyton Manning. Those scenarios are far less likely.
If the Eagles do draft a quarterback they expect to make the roster, and Edwards wins the backup job, Kafka could be the odd man out. If they sign another free agent quarterback to back up Vick (and don’t draft one), it probably makes sense to continue to develop Kafka and part ways with Edwards. The Edwards signing carries no risk but also minimal reward. If it indicates the team’s plans moving forward that plan is not evident to this writer. I see a number of very unlikely possibilities with negligible chance of success:
- Eagles trade Vick, draft picks and Asante Samuel to Indianapolis in exchange for the rights to the first pick in the draft, taking Andrew Luck in the process.
- Eagles trade Vick, draft picks and Asante Samuel to Indianapolis in exchange for the rights to Peyton Manning, accepting his $28 M roster bonus in the process.
- Eagles allow Indianapolis to cut Peyton Manning then make a free agent bid for the future Hall of Fame QB, asking Manning to compete with Michael Vick for the starting role. Pending Manning’s health status this could be very high risk or very low risk insurance for a one year Super Bowl run.
- Eagles assure Vick’s starting job and troll the post-draft waiver wire for veteran QB then allow them to compete with Edwards and Kafka, simply keeping the best of the bunch. This group could include the aforementioned Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Donovan McNabb or Rex Grossman. It may also include the likes of any veterans supplanted by draft picks such as Jake Delhomme, Matt Hasselbach, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, David Garrard, Charlie Batch, Kellen Clemens, Byron Leftwich or AJ Feeley.
RELATED ARTICLE: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2012/02/01/peytons-place/
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org