What the signing of Cody Kessler means for the Eagles

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According to Ian Rapoport, the Philadelphia Eagles are set to sign former Jaguars QB Cody Kessler. The signing will go through on Monday, with Kessler becoming the fifth quarterback on the roster, at least for the time being.

A former third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, Kessler has played in 17 games in his three-year career, starting 12 (winning 2 games). Completing 64% of his passes, passing for 8 touchdowns and 5 picks, Kessler has become somewhat of a game manager, which is what maybe led him to Jacksonville to begin with.

He went 0-8 during his stint with the Browns, but after being traded to the Jags for a conditional seventh-round pick, found a new lease of life…kind of. When the Jags benched Blake Bortles toward the end of last season, it was Kessler who took over the starting role, going 2-2 and proving that he can be dropped into the deep end and perform adequately.

A lot of people assume that Kessler is going to come in and immediately challenge Nate Sudfeld for the QB2 role, but it’s not all that likely. The team are high on Sudfeld, hence the tender placed on him, and believe in their quarterback development. Sudfeld let it rip last preseason and came scarily close to having to put the team on his back when Nick Foles went down briefly against the Texans. That never materialized, but the Birds clearly have enough faith in him to keep him on the roster, bumping him up to QB2 after letting their Super Bowl MVP backup walk away.

It was said however, that the Eagles were looking for a veteran free agent to replace Foles and that market was ultimately lacking. The team took a flyer on former AAF QB Luis Perez, who struggled with accuracy during his time there.

‘QB Whisperer’ Sean McVay took that same flyer on Perez last year after he went undrafted, so there’s clearly upside to be tapped into. But it doesn’t give the Eagles that ‘veteran insight’ that someone such as Foles, Chase Daniel, Mark Sanchez, or even Tim Tebow, once brought to the table.

The Eagles also drafted Clayton Thorson, another quarterback who struggles with accuracy deep down the field and had a worrying touchdown/interception ratio in his final season at Northwestern (17/15). It may well be that Kessler can come in and not only alleviate the pressure on both of these young signal callers, but maybe help them iron out any weaknesses in their game.

The USC product, in his own mind, will undoubtedly be honing in on an opportunity to snatch away the QB2 spotlight from Nate Sudfeld. It’s possible, but it’s going to take a lot. It’s a unique opportunity for a quarterback who at 25-years old, has played in a full season’s worth of games and still has plenty of upside, to prove he’s ready to be a long-term backup. This is a really important offseason for Sudfeld, who will naturally be graded in comparison to a quarterback who was once the starter for the Browns, and started 4 games for the Jags last year. Is Sudfeld now a fringe starter, or can he play like one? This will give the Eagles a rough guideline.

What this essentially does is create two ‘quarterback battles’ (providing they keep all five on the team).

Sudfeld vs Kessler
Thorson vs Perez

This may also be a sign that Carson Wentz won’t be around for OTA’s, or could at least be limited, meaning that the team need the extra signal caller. If that’s the case, we really do have two battles on our hands as the phrase ‘Iron sharpens Iron’ will look to drive up competition, development, and ultimately leave the Eagles with a trio/quartet of quarterbacks to head into Training Camp with.

The move makes plenty of sense for the Eagles. Cheap, cheerful, young, and a mix of experience and upside, all present themselves in a quarterback who provides level-competition to Nate Sudfeld, and potential leadership opportunities to the younger signal-callers on the team.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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