The Jacksonville Jaguars had a new face and a familiar face in the quarterback room all at the same time during Wednesday's training camp practice.
On the last practice before the Jaguars host the Cleveland Browns on Friday, rookie quarterback EJ Perry donned the same red No. 4 jersey he wore all spring, but also the same one Kyle Sloter wore for the first 10 days of training camp as Perry healed from a hamstring injury that led to a brief absence from the Jaguars' roster.
“He was with us all spring. We had time invested in him," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson explained Wednesday when asked what about Perry made the Jaguars want to give him a second stint.
"I thank Kyle (Sloter) for the couple weeks that he was here. He did a nice job for us while he was here, and we wish him the best. In EJ, we had a guy we liked coming out of the draft and brought him in here, smart kid, sharp kid. He’s healthy now and ready to go.”
Perry was one of the Jaguars' top undrafted free agent additions and took all of the reps as the team's No. 4 quarterback during the spring. With Perry, the Jaguars have a first-year, second-year (Trevor Lawrence), and third-year (Jake Luton) all on the roster, giving them a young group of quarterbacks to learn around veteran backup C.J. Beathard.
"Again, the quarterback position, I’ve always sort of adopted the philosophy of if you can find a guy that can come in, whether he’s your third or your fourth guy, and add the competition, add the value, I keep bringing that up, but that’s what we do," Pederson said during rookie minicamp in May.
"When you can get a guy like [Perry] in here, we loved his tape. He was a guy that we even had [Quarterbacks Coach] Mike McCoy, [Assistant Quarterbacks Coach] Andrew Breiner, some of my assistant coaches talk to prior to the draft and had some meeting time with him and just get to know him a little bit. Then we were fortunate to get him and get him in here and get him going.”
Perry received the second-largest guaranteed contract among undrafted quarterbacks, with only Carson Strong of the Philadelphia Eagles receiving more ($320k). Among all undrafted free agents, Perry received the third-most guaranteed money and the same amount as fellow Jags signee Kevin Austin, a wide receiver out of Notre Dame.
Perry spent the first two years of his college career as a backup quarterback at Boston College before transferring to Brown and putting up huge numbers. He led the FCS in total offense in his first year as a starter in 2019, completing 60.1% of his passes for 2,948 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, while also rushing for 730 yards and eight touchdowns.
Brown was then a Third-Team All-American in 2021, passing for 3,033 yards and 23 touchdowns while leading the team in rushing for the second year in a row with 402 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Jaguars signed Sloter, a former USFL starter and NFL backup as their No. 4 quarterback on the day before the first practice of camp, still turning to third-year quarterback Jake Luton as their No. 3 passer. The Jaguars released Perry with an injury settlement the next day.