As the Eagles prepare for life after Chip Kelly, they must work to reconstruct a roster that was designed for the past regime. No decision looms larger in that process than what the franchise decides to do at the quarterback position. Philadelphia’s best options, in order, are as follows:
1. Sign Ryan Fitzpatrick
If the Eagles are going to head into the 2016 season with a veteran quarterback, Fitzpatrick, who spent 2015 with the Jets, is better suited for Doug Pederson’s offense than Bradford. Pairing Fitzpatrick, who threw for almost 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2015, with a revitalized DeMarco Murray could quickly help the Eagles reach the playoffs. In addition, at 33, Fitzpatrick would cost less money than Sam Bradford, and could groom any quarterback the Eagles draft.
2. Retain Sam Bradford
While Bradford is perhaps the best quarterback on the open market, he is also the most notable holdover from Kelly’s reign at the helm. Beyond that, his numbers on the year (19 TD, 14 INT) are lackluster. However, the former first overall pick did prove he could stay healthy, served as a valuable leader in the locker room, and finished the year by throwing 10 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his last seven games. According to recent reports from Adam Schefter, the Eagles will not use the franchise tag on Bradford, but could still bring him back with a new contract.
3. Draft a quarterback
When Jeff Lurie finally grew tired of Kelly, he reverted to what he knew and hired Andy Reid’s right-hand man, Pederson. In doing so he may wish to re-create the formula that worked for so long in Philadelphia, and pair a young quarterback with his rookie head coach. From a financial standpoint this would be the most efficient means of acquiring a quarterback. Using the franchise tag on Bradford, or signing him to a long-term deal could prove fiscally detrimental in years to come.
4. Sign Brock Osweiler
As the end of Peyton Manning’s career looms, it is hard to imagine the Broncos parting with Osweiler. Nonetheless, Denver’s front office remained unsure about Osweiler as recently as Week 16 despite the young quarterback outplaying Manning and beating Tom Brady. However long the odds, if the Broncos make the mistake of letting the 25-year-old test free agency, the Eagles should pounce.
5. Take a chance on Robert Griffin III
According to a December report by NFL.com, the Eagles were interested in adding RG3 when Kelly was still in charge. Under Pederson, a mobile quarterback is not the same ideal fit. However, RG3 will be looking for a place to re-establish his value, and in all likelihood that would allow the Eagles to add him at reduced rate.
In the wake of Kelly’s sudden departure, taking a chance on the former Redskin could provide the Eagles with both immediate, and long-term dividends. However, for a team that does not intend to rebuild, adding Griffin represents a significantly bigger risk than trusting in Fitzpatrick, or even Bradford. There have also been swirling rumors of a possible return of Nick Foles, a quarterback who was drafted while Pederson was with the Eagles a few offseasons ago.However this is an unlikely scenario.