Say what you will about why the Philadelphia Eagles fired Chip Kelly, but the main reason for that and the constant change in Philadelphia over the years has boiled down to one thing, and that is the lack of a franchise quarterback.
There is no real blue print in finding a franchise quarterback.
A team like the Indianapolis Colts can be bad enough to get the first overall pick and draft Andrew Luck with the first overall pick.
A team like the Seattle Seahawks or the New England Patriots can find a diamond in rough in Russell Wilson and Tom Brady.
Every team does it differently. As for the Eagles, they have tried a number of ways since trading away Donovan Mcnabb in 2010. Michael Vick had an MVP type year in 2010-2011, but since then the Eagles have showcased the likes of Nick Foles, Matt Barkley, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford.
None of those signal callers started a full season for Philadelphia.
Reports say the Eagles are not likely to franchise tag Bradford, as they would have to pay him over $20 million for one season. That is too big of a blow on the cap for Philadelphia after extending Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson, and Vinny Curry to long-term deals.
Philadelphia has expressed interest in re-signing Bradford, but they will most likely be outbid by a team like Houston who needs a starting quarterback.
Even if the Eagles have the money to give Bradford on a long term deal, they should steer clear of this move.
Bradford made some progress over the course of the season, but the seven-game stretch that many Eagles writers are pointing to, as proof that Bradford can be a franchise quarterback ,was good for 21st. Compare that stretch to every other quarterbacks best seven-game stretch, it is behind quarterbacks like Brian Hoyer and Jay Cutler, neither of whom are considered “franchise quarterbacks”
The Eagles led the league in drops, which makes Bradford’s stats look a lot worse than they could have been. But here are the numbers without any drops:
Bradford 2015: 346/532 (65%), 3725 (7 y/a), 19 TD/14 INT, 84.6 rtg
With 0 drops: 404/532 (75.9%), 4318 (8.1 y/a), 22 TD/12 INT, 103.6 rtg
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) January 11, 2016
Bradford had 41 drops in 14 games. That was the most suffered of any NFL quarterback, however not by that much. In 2015, the average amount of drops for a team was 30.
Despite the drops, Bradford still struggled. He did not take many shots downfield and was inconsistent with decision making.
Bradford can be a steady starting quarterback, but he is not a player that can take over games and carry a team like Aaron Rodgers does with the Packers. Bradford wants to be paid like an Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, and that is what he will make by some team, but that team should not be the Eagles.
So if the Eagles do not extend Bradford, what do they do?
Reports from Adam Schefter and a few Philadelphia beat writers say the Eagles are interesting in re-acquiring Nick Foles, who played three seasons for the Eagles.
For those who missed it: Eagles will not use franchise tag on QB Sam Bradford and they are expected to inquire about adding QB Nick Foles.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 8, 2016
Good idea if it means let Foles start while a rookie quarterback develops. Bad idea if it means Pederson and Howie Roseman believe Foles can be a franchise quarterback.
Most Eagles fans aren’t happy about the news. They are taking to Twitter to express their frustrations.
When you see ‘Eagles interested in re-acquiring Nick Foles’ rumors. pic.twitter.com/eVGXLvGOX0
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) February 7, 2016
In his first year under Kelly, Foles brought the Eagles to the playoffs after a historic run of 27 touchdowns to two interceptions in 13 games. He finished the year with 2,891 yards and a 119.2 rating as well.
However his play dropped off in his second year as starter. The former Arizona Wildcat forced too many throws in tight coverage and held onto the football too long.
Foles may have just been a product of Kelly’s system. Sanchez, Foles, and Bradford all had career highs in many categories once put into Kelly’s offense.
It almost seemed as if Foles’ starting days were over after being traded to the, now, Los Angeles Rams. The Rams benched him in favor of Case Keenum after eleven starts after Foles threw 10 interceptions and had a QB rating of 69.0.
According to Pro Football Focus, Foles ranked 33rd out of 35 quarterbacks in accuracy percentage with at least 50 attempts. That is pretty bad.
In Nick Foles’ defense, the Rams did have the worst offensive line in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.
Pederson was instrumental in drafting Foles, so the interest may be real. The Eagles would be much better off paying Foles $8 million this year than $25-$30 million to Bradford.
Neither player is ideal though as neither player is a franchise quarterback. Philadelphia just doesn’t seem to understand how to truly rebuild.
Try to draft a guy like Paxton Lynch with the 13th overall pick and then move forward. Lynch’s name has already gained some steam in Philadelphia.
— Alyssa PederSchwartz (@Alyssadelphia7) February 8, 2016
Have Foles or a Chase Daniels play quarterback for a year while a prospect develops. This could be ideal for the Eagles as it would allow a guy like Lynch to develop into a NFL quarterback. Pederson has told reporters at the Senior Bowl that he hopes to bring in a young quarterback to develop.
The Eagles may believe this team is ready to win now and that may be true, but Pederson and Roseman should make sure they get the quarterback position right so they can truly compete on the ultimate stage; Competing for a Super Bowl.
Most of the core talent is locked up for the long term. This team is young enough where most of the core will be in their primes right when a young quarterback is ready.
If the goal is to make the wild card round and lose then yes, re-sign Bradford or bring back Foles as the starter of the foreseeable future. Neither quarterback has a playoff win, and there is just one playoff appearance combined between the two.
The Eagles need to try and find a signal caller in the draft this year or next year. That is how they won before. Drafting McNabb with the second overall pick in 1998 set up what was 13 years of winning for the Eagles.
This team may not be bad enough to draft the top quarterback this season or next season. The team is in a position to either nab Carson Wentz or Lynch at pick 13, or even have the flexibility to move up a few picks with two third round picks in their arsenal.
If there is one thing Roseman is good at it is draft day trades. Just look at the trade to get Fletcher Cox in 2012.
Only time will tell with what the Eagles will do at quarterback. The fans in Philadelphia will be praying that the Eagles do not repeat the same mistakes they have made the past six years. If so, the Eagles will continue to struggle.