PHILADELPHIA -- Mark Sanchez has definitely become an asset in the months since he signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. The question has suddenly become: Is Sanchez more valuable as the backup to Nick Foles or as a possible trade piece for a team like St. Louis?
"Mark was in the meeting today," Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur joked Monday, pointing out the divide between the focus inside the team complex and the noise swirling around outside it. "Those are just issues of the day, fun things for you guys to think about."
The loss of quarterback Sam Bradford to an ACL tear leaves the Rams with a tough decision. Do they roll with backup Shaun Hill, or do they try to acquire another quarterback who gives them a better chance to win in a tough division? If they go the latter route, Sanchez is among the most accomplished backup quarterbacks in the NFL.
"Everybody should be interested in Mark," Shurmur said. "He’s done a good job. He’s played well for us. And he’s won a lot of football games in the league. He was sitting in the locker room at halftime of two AFC Championship Games -- ahead. So we’re very glad we have him. He’s added a lot to this team. A lot of people should want him, but we have him. That’s the reality."
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has said many times that it’s important to have two quarterbacks capable of winning games. He knows that all too well. Last season, his first in the NFL, Kelly lost Michael Vick to a groin pull in Week 5. Two weeks later, Foles was knocked out of a game against the Dallas Cowboys with a concussion. Rookie Matt Barkley had to finish that game plus another one after Vick was reinjured.
So Kelly would not easily part with Sanchez. On the other hand, Barkley is scheduled to start the final preseason game Thursday night against the Jets. He will play into the second half. If he shows signs of progress, and if the Rams happened to offer the Eagles more than they expect, then Sanchez could be expendable. The Eagles will have to replace Sanchez after the 2014 season, anyway.
But Kelly isn’t apt to do anything that would jeopardize 2014. As he said the other day, the Eagles aren’t building for the future. They are trying to win now.
"I think we as coaches see it differently than some of the people that write and worry about it outside this building," Shurmur said. "We knew what (Sanchez) brought to the table. We knew his strengths and weaknesses, and we felt like he would fit in well here. His style of play translates to what we want to do. He’s a good player."