Eagles: 6 backup quarterbacks they could sign


The Eagles’ offense was a major issue for the majority of the season last year and was the main reason the team struggled on their way to 9-7. 

Here is a look at some of the options they have in free agency, starting with a crucial position -- backup quarterback. 

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans: It is hard to ignore the irony of the Eagles bringing in Mariota after former head coach Chip Kelly tried to trade the entire team to get him prior to the 2015 NFL Draft. It would likely bring a smile to Howie Roseman’s face to bring in Mariota, knowing Kelly didn’t, and the move makes plenty of sense for both sides. 

For the Eagles, Mariota would be perhaps the best possible option as a backup, unless Nick Foles gets released. Mariota has 61 games of starting experience in the NFL, including two starts in the playoffs. Mariota has not met the potential he showed at Oregon, but he hasn’t been completely terrible either, posting a career quarterback rating of 89.6 and throwing 76 touchdowns to 44 interceptions. 

A very appealing part of bringing in Mariota would be what he can do with his legs. The Eagles’ offense was at its best last season when they were rolling Carson Wentz out of the pocket, a gameplan they had to abandon when Josh McCown went in for an injured Wentz during the team’s playoff loss to Seattle. They wouldn’t have to do that with Mariota. 

For Mariota, he would get to come to an elite franchise with an elite head coach and a quarterback that has missed time in each of the last three seasons, giving him a very real chance to play. 

Mariota and the Eagles made sense the first time around and it makes just as much sense this time. 

Chase Daniel, Chicago Bears: Daniel has already had his turn as Wentz’s backup, helping to bring the rookie along in 2016. Wentz was very complementary of Daniel during their season together and the two seemed to have a great relationship. If the Eagles wanted a backup similar to the coaching-role that McCown played last season, McDaniel is about as close as they would be able to get without actually bringing back in McCown. Just like it was an issue the first time, however, the fact that Daniel only has five starts in 10 years in the NFL would be an issue if Wentz were to go down with a long-term injury. 
A.J. McCarron, Houston Texans: McCarron has turned a solid run in 2015 with the Bengals, when he threw six touchdowns in three games, into a career role as a backup. Since then, he has attempted a total of 54 passes in four seasons. So McCarron, unlike some other options, wouldn’t bring a lot of playing experience. McCarron has shown he can be an accurate passer, as he completed 66.4% of his 119 passes in 2015 with the Bengals. Doug Pederson’s offense works when it has an accurate quarterback (see: Foles, Nick). When at his best McCarron should be able to sit back and run Pederson’s offense. 
Case Keenum, Washington Redskins: Keenum has had a very interesting career, and his two latest games against the Eagles is a perfect example of how hot-and-cold he can be. In 2017, Keenum was awful as the Eagles smashed the Minnesota Vikings on their way to the Super Bowl. In 2019, Keenum picked the Eagles’ defense apart and nearly beat them as the starter for Washington. Keenum is a wildcard and that isn’t a great quality in a backup. Keenum, however, as at least shown he can get hot — and we all know what the Eagles can accomplish with a red-hot backup. 
Blake Bortles, Los Angeles Rams: Bortles is similar to Keenum, with some big-time highs and some very low lows. Bortles had 35 touchdowns in 2015, but has never come close to that many in a single season again, and was benched in 2018 with the Jaguars. There is no getting around that Bortles isn’t a backup that will inspire confidence if he had to come in. But with 73 starts in his career, including playoff experience, there is at least some upside to bringing him in over some of the less-proven options that would be a complete wildcard if they went in.
Colt McCoy, Washington Redskins: McCoy is an interesting option for the Eagles. A former starter for Washington, McCoy has a decent amount of experience, playing in 39 games and attempting 923 passes. He doesn’t have playoff experience, but he played in some big games, albeit to some poor results. Of all the options on this list, it is hard to see McCoy coming in as the undisputed backup, and would likely compete with a player like Nate Sudfeld if the Eagles did bring him in. 
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!