Eagles Still Value Tanner McKee as Developmental QB Despite Recent Signing

The addition of Will Grier by the Philadelphia Eagles isn't likely to affect second-year QB Tanner McKee.
Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs
Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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PHILADELPHIA - Any time you add a quarterback to the equation in Philadelphia, it's noteworthy.

The Eagles brought in another body to what is certainly shaping up as a deep room for new position coach Doug Nussmeier by adding Will Grier to the mix.

Assumptions that the 2019 third-round pick of the Carolina Panthers is here to usurp projected third-stringer and developmental option Tanner McKee are not likely to pan out, however.

Nonetheless, Grier is the second signal caller added this month by the Eagles following Kenny Pickett, who was acquired via trade from Pittsburgh to backup starter Jalen Hurts.

Pickett, the Steelers' first-round pick in the 2022 draft at No. 20 overall, was acquired by the Eagles by dropping from No. 98 overall in the third round of April's draft to No. 120 in the fourth round, along with a pair of 2025 seventh-round picks.

Tanner Mckee
Indianapolis Colts v Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Before that deal, there was at least cursory talk of the strong-armed McKee leaping from a 2023 sixth-round pick to backup for Hurts in one calendar year.

Those who understand the Eagles, however, realize that GM Howie Roseman is still proceeding like Philadelphia is a significant contender, meaning a backup QB with more experience was needed.

Pickett started 24 games with the Steelers over his first two professional seasons and Roseman and the Eagles' scouting staff liked the Pitt product when he was coming out so getting the Ocean Township. N.J. for two years as a cost-effective backup with McKee given more time as a second-year developmental option made sense to the organization.

Grier's name added to the mix didn't seem like the best news for McKee's future especially considering that the West Virginia product already has a deep history with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and Nussmeier.

Now 28, this will be Grier's third stop as a student of Moore and Nussmeier, and at least a portion of the fourth straight year the three will be working together. That started with a 2021-22 stint with the Dallas Cowboys and a December run last season with the Los Angeles Chargers, who signed Grier off the New England practice squad.

The understanding here, however, is that the Eagles remain very high on McKee when it comes to upside and Grier is much further along in what has become a journeyman-like career.

We're told the duo of Moore and Nussmeier believe in Grier's football IQ and may be grooming him for a coaching career of his own. Having that kind of student in a situation where you're trying to teach three others you're personal offensive concepts is valuable.

It doesn't make much sense, however, to have a player approaching 30 as a developmental No. 3 from a practical standpoint.

Barring injury, expect the Eagles' initial 53 in September to read Hurts, Pickett and McKee with Grier on speed dial or a potential PS quarterback if the Eagles' like the way the room gels over the spring and summer.

John McMullen


John McMullen is a veteran reporter who has covered the NFL for over two decades. The current NFL insider for JAKIB Media, John is the former NFL Editor for The Sports Network where his syndicated column was featured in over 200 outlets including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Miami Herald. He was also the national NFL columnist for Today's Pigskin as well as FanRag Sports. McMullen has covered the Eagles on a daily basis since 2016, first for ESPN South Jersey and now for Eagles Today on SI.com's FanNation. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube.com. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey and part of 6ABC.com's live postgame show after every Eagles game. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen