According to numerous reports, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is now all in on Jalen Hurts to the point where he is instructing his staff not to bring in competition. This might be counter-intuitive, but you can’t blame him for wanting to avoid a headache like last year and going to the extremes to do so. With this in mind, the Eagles do still, at the very least, need to find a veteran backup for Hurts.
If this report is to be believed, then the team won’t be looking for a veteran who can come in and really push their former second-round pick this Summer. Instead, they’ll be seeking a veteran with starting experience whose best days are firmly in the rear-view mirror but can offer plenty of advice and tutoring to the young signal-caller. Here are five names who fit that mold.
Tyrod Taylor has spent the last two years with the Chargers, where he worked closely with new Eagles QB coach Shane Steichen. While he rarely saw the field, he did mentor Justin Herbert who enjoyed a thunderous breakout. The NFL offensive rookie of the year had this to say about Taylor earlier in the year:
“He’s been an incredible teammate,” Herbert said. “He’s been awesome in the locker room and he’s one of those guys I look up to so much. He’s always there on the sideline, helping out, giving advice and even when we’re watching film together. He’s a great guy to have in your locker room and one of the best guys I’ve ever met.”
Over the last 10 years, Tyrod Taylor has proven himself to be the perfect ‘bridge’ QB. He’s capable of winning games, is mobile enough to fit into the same type of offense as the one being built for Jalen Hurts, but shouldn’t be regarded as direct competition. It’s a glove-like fit.
The NFL’s comeback player of the year in 2020 stunned just about everyone when he stepped up to the plate in Washington and proved he still had plenty of gas in the tank. Surprisingly, Washington let him walk.
Smith might not be the player he once was, but has been around the league for 16 years now and will be very familiar with the type of offense being built.
Smith is now 37-years-old and is coming off of a 1,582-yard season where he threw 6 touchdowns and 8 picks. This should give Jalen Hurts some job security while of course providing invaluable insight and knowledge from a three-time pro bowler.
There would be nothing more ‘Eagles’ than a former draftee coming home to back up Hurts, and Barkley could be a great candidate. The USC product never really caught on in Philadelphia, but after bouncing around a few different teams, found a home in Buffalo.
The dynamic of Barkley backing up Allen has clearly worked well and the former Eagles QB has stepped up in relief of the young signal-caller on several occasions, doing just about enough to give his team a shot. That’s the perfect level of play to slot in behind Hurts.
Sean Mannion might only have two career starts with none of them coming in 2020, but that’s not what’s important. Mannion shined under Sean McVay during his time with the Rams and spent time with Gary Kubiak in Minnesota. Why does this matter? He’s spent his NFL career so far working under renowned offensive gurus and will bring a plethora of knowledge to the table which is exactly what the doctor ordered.
For Mannion, the fit works well. He might one day elevate to ‘fringe starter’ status and could view this as an opportunity to show what he can do. Realistically, he’s not going t beat out Jalen Hurts, but much in the same way that Cody Kessler was never going to beat out Carson Wentz, it’s a chance for a slightly younger, cheaper quarterback to come in and put out some tape for to show potential suitors down the line.
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