Philadelphia Eagles: Josh McCown creates a backup QB conundrum

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

By signing Josh McCown midway through the preseason, the Philadelphia Eagles have created a very interesting bottleneck behind Carson Wentz at backup QB.

It happened.

After losing quarterbacks in two straight weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles have finally added a second quarterback – a quarterback who’s an all but lock to make the final 53 man roster in time for Week 1.

While it wasn’t a totally unimagined idea that Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson could conceivably convince Josh McCown to go back on his initial decision to retire for (presumably) one last job as an NFL quarterback (more on that here).

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But what does McCown’s addition mean for the rest of the Eagles quarterbacks room, and how could it affect their opening day roster when the team opens things up at Linc on September 8th?

Let’s take a look.

First things first, McCown’s addition obviously does nothing to Carson Wentz‘s fortunes moving forward; he’s going to be the face of the franchise for a very, very long time. If anything, McCown could actually be a valuable addition to Wentz’s continued development as a franchise signal-caller, as the 26-year-old hasn’t had a ‘veteran mentor’ backing him up since Chase Daniel‘s weird tenure in midnight green.

Say what you will about Nick Foles being an invaluable part of the Birds’ championship run (which he was), but he was predominantly signed for his on-field abilities, not to teach Wentz the ins and outs of the game.

So, if Wentz and McCown are virtual locks to make the roster – and after handing him $2 million in guaranteed money, that appears to be the case – what does that mean for the trio of players initially vying for the final spot or two on the Eagles’ depth chart?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Of the three, the one most obviously out is Cody Kessler, who lasted all of seven snaps before being sacked out of the team’s second preseason game with a potential concussion. While he may stick around for the remainder of August, barring an injury settlement, Kessler will likely be on the lookout for a new team to continue his professional career with – either in the NFL or XFL.

That leaves only two quarterbacks, and one gigantic question left for Roseman and company to answer: What are the Eagles going to do about their third quarterback slot?

After initially avoiding adding a veteran signal-caller to instead promote in-house trainee Nate Sudfeld to QB2, there is a genuine chance he won’t even make the team’s initial roster – instead spending the first 10 weeks (at minimum) on injured reserve.

Signing McCown all but signifies that decision, as going into the regular season for even a month without a serious backup quarterback could be disastrous, and place undue pressure on a 26-year-old career backup coming off a pretty ugly wrist fracture.

The same, unfortunately, can’t be said for 2019 fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson.

After initially looking like a certified bum following a disastrous preseason debut, Thorson actually looked pretty, pretty good against the Jacksonville Jaguars once he got into a rhythm. While most teams with a young star starter and a veteran backup would be willing to go into the season with just two quarterbacks, Roseman may value retaining four seasons of Thorson on a very team-friendly $2.5 million deal over keeping an extra bottom of the roster linebacker, guard, or defensive tackle.

While it may be possible to retain Thorson on the practice squad and re-sign him to a new, long-term contract when the season ends, that opens Northwestern‘s all-time leading passer to being potentially poached by a QB hungry team like the Oakland Raiders, who have a propensity for big, winning college quarterbacks (see one Nathan Peterman).

Next. 3 reasons to love Philadelphia Eagles signing Josh McCown. dark

So despite having a much clearer picture as to who will back up Carson Wentz over the course of the 2019 season, the Philadelphia Eagles still have a serious backup quarterback conundrum they need to solve over these next two preseason games.