Eagles Need QBs; One Could be Nate Sudfeld

The backup is a restricted free agent, but might be in line to return for his fourth season in Philly

The free agent crop of quarterbacks is fascinating to say the least.

Much of that fascination has to do with Tom Brady, the forever New England Patriots signal caller. It’s sort of been back-and-forth with Brady. One day he’s leaving, another day he’s returning.

Another piece to the fascination is Drew Brees, 41, who said he will return for another season, but has yet to work out a new deal with the New Orleans Saints. The two parties will get something done, but we will see about that.

Brady, who turns 43 this summer, is the lynchpin of a quarterback market that the Eagles figure to do some shopping in before the draft begins on April 23.

The Eagles could come out firing, opening negotiations with quarterback they want when legal negotiations begin next Monday or sit back and wait for the dust to settle before making a move as free agency proceeds through the remainder of March and into April.

They need to do something, because the only backup to starting quarterback Carson Wentz is last year’s practice squad member Kyle Lauletta.

Last year’s backups, Nate Sudfeld and Josh McCown, are both free agents. Sudfeld is a restricted free agent, so he could return if the Eagles put a price on him that another team would have to match.

Sudfeld makes the most sense at this point, and there isn’t another team that will guarantee him a starting job. Perhaps, they can offer Sudfeld the right to compete to be the starter, a chance he doesn’t have in Philly with Wentz entrenched.

Maybe the Vegas Raiders make Sudfeld an offer that he can’t refuse, or the Patriots – if Brady leaves.

“We’re very comfortable with Nate (Sudfeld),” said Eagles head coach Doug Pederson at the NFL Scouting Combine last month. “Obviously he has an opportunity. We’ll see what happens this spring when we get down the road with him, but he’s put himself in position to compete and possibly be the No. 2.”

McCown is rehabbing a torn hamstring suffered in the playoff loss to the Seahawks and he turns 41 this summer.

The Eagles may go in search of a veteran when free agency begins.

Perhaps the one who makes the most sense is Case Keenum, who is just 32 and has made 62 career starts. Ryan Tannehill is 32 and is scheduled to be a free agent. If the Titans sign Brady, Tannehill will likely hit the market.

Chances are Tannehill will get paid starter’s money somewhere, but, again, one never knows for sure.

A.J. McCarron could also be an option. He is just 29, but has made just four starts with 173 pass attempts in six years.

If the Eagles elect to go with someone younger, the player Tannehill replaced, Marcus Mariota, could be an option, and how ironic would that be?

Then-Eagles coach Chip Kelly wanted so desperately to trade up to acquire the right to draft Mariota in 2015, having reportedly even offered a package that included defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to try to move up to the second overall pick that year.

Pederson was asked at the Combine if the Eagles could be interested in a younger, less experienced player as a backup to Wentz considering Wentz is now entering his fifth season.

“I think you could,” said the coach, “but you have to be careful. It has to be the right guy. It has to be somebody that you’re comfortable maybe playing a game or two with.

"We’ve brought in veteran guys the past couple of seasons that have got us through. That’s something we’ll look at. That’s something that’s obviously important to me having been a backup quarterback. So we’ll evaluate that this offseason.”

The offseason continues to tick and will pick up speed in a week.

We are about to find out if the Eagles are ready when it comes to pursuit of a quarterback.