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Why the Eagles might keep 4 quarterbacks

Eliot Shorr-Parks
August 20, 2019 - 8:40 am

The Eagles quarterback situation is a complicated one and it could lead to some tricky roster maneuvering on cut down day. 

Right now the Eagles have four quarterbacks they likely want to be in the building in Week 1 after final cutdowns. Carson Wentz, obviously, is one of them. Josh McCown and his new deal paying him $2 million in guaranteed money is another. Nate Sudfeld, despite his broken left wrist, is the third and rookie Clayton Thorson is the fourth. 

The issue is that on any roster, especially one as deep as the Eagles’ roster is, keeping four quarterbacks is tough. Add in all of the injury issues the Eagles are dealing with at other positions and keeping four might be close to impossible. 

The Eagles, however, might have no choice but to do it. 

While there is an argument to be made for trading Sudfeld, and opening up $3 million in cap space, it isn’t a move the Eagles are likely to make. Sudfeld is still an elite quarterback prospect that has all of the physical tools the Eagles look for in a quarterback. He is more talented than McCown is at this point. The Eagles could likely net a late-round pick for Sudfeld, but considering they are a win-now team that needs depth at quarterback, that kind of return likely isn’t worth losing Sudfeld. There is also the chance that next offseason Sudfeld signs a semi-lucrative deal that nets the Eagles a compensatory pick. Assuming they don’t trade Sudfeld, and they certainly won’t cut him, he is going to be on the initial 53-man roster. 

Thorson is where things get tricky. The rookie quarterback had a terrible start to training camp but has been one of the most improved players on the roster over the last week. He had an excellent day of practice on Monday, throwing touchdowns on three of his four attempts in the red zone. A fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, you have to believe there were other teams behind the Eagles ready to take him if the Eagles passed. In an ideal world the Eagles would be able to put him on the practice squad this season. While rookies almost always make it through waivers, the fact Thorson is a quarterback increases the chances he is picked up by another team. However big or small the risk is, you have to wonder if the Eagles — who only have Wentz under contract past the 2020 season — are willing to chance losing Thorson to another team for nothing. If they aren’t, then they have to keep him on the roster, bringing the total to four. 

One way the Eagles could maneuver the situation is by keeping four quarterbacks on the their final 53-man roster and cutting a veteran like Orlando Scandrick. Then, assuming Scandrick isn’t picked up by another team — which he almost certainly won’t be — they could place Sudfeld on the injured reserve list. Placing Sudfeld on IR after the 53-man cutdown day would allow the Eagles to bring him back at some point this season. Placing Sudfeld on IR would also open up a roster spot, which the Eagles could use to bring back Scandrick. They will also likely be placing Cre’von LeBlanc on injured reserve, opening up another roster spot. 

There is no denying keeping four quarterbacks would be tough. There is also no denying, however, that Howie Roseman places an extremely high value on the quarterback position and isn’t going to let players he likes at that position simply walk out of the building for nothing. 

Having four quarterbacks on the roster is a problem, but when you consider all of the bad quarterback play around the league, it might be a good problem to have. 

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