PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles headed to Indianapolis to eyeball the quarterbacks and other players for the NFL draft. While they were interviewing prospects and watching drills, the league’s quarterback market changed dramatically.
After a few days and some signs that Chip Kelly wanted to work with Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, news broke Thursday that Kaepernick wants to be traded. Meanwhile, Washington made it clear that it intends to part ways with Robert Griffin III.
This would have been unthinkable in 2013. Back then, Kaepernick had just played in the Super Bowl, and Griffin had just been named offensive rookie of the year after winning the NFC East title.
Meanwhile, Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said this week that he expects to lose backup quarterback Chase Daniel in free agency. While Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman look at the draft-eligible QBs in Indianapolis, let’s take a look at their other options.
Sam Bradford: He’s still the most likely solution to the Eagles’ immediate quarterback problem. Roseman and Pederson revealed that the team has been negotiating with Bradford.
Timing is important here. If the Eagles haven’t worked out a deal with Bradford by March 9, he will become a free agent. For several days before that, teams will be allowed to contact agent Tom Condon to discuss contract parameters.
With Kelly in San Francisco and Kaepernick on the way out, Bradford could become very interesting to the 49ers. He has a year in Kelly’s offense. He improved as that first season wore on, and he became more confident in his surgically-repaired knee.
When the Eagles were likely competing with the Cleveland Browns, they had the upper hand. If San Francisco gets into the mix, Bradford would likely be very interested.
Colin Kaepernick: The catch here is that the Eagles would have to trade for Kaepernick. Having just made a one-sided deal for Bradford a year ago, they may not want to invest more resources in the quarterback position.
But Kaepernick did take the Niners to the Super Bowl just three years ago. He has won four more playoff games than Bradford has played in. And Kaepernick is exactly five days older than Bradford, so there is no reason to believe he can’t regain the form that took him to back-to-back NFC title games.
The irony, of course, is that many people thought Kaepernick would have been a great fit for Kelly when the Eagles were considering quarterback options. Now Kelly is in San Francisco, and Kaepernick apparently wants out.
But Pederson can certainly work with a mobile quarterback. He did with Michael Vick in Philadelphia and Alex Smith in Kansas City. He backed up Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb, two QBs who could move pretty well.
Robert Griffin III: Griffin just turned 26, so he’s younger than Bradford and Kaepernick by two years. He is also likely to be released, so he could be available without having to give up draft picks in a trade.
Griffin is a bit of an enigma. He was the most exciting young player in the league just three years ago. A combination of injuries and Mike Shanahan turned him into an afterthought.
Pederson was the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach in 2012, when Griffin was coming out in the draft. The Eagles didn’t have a chance to draft Griffin, who was taken second overall, but Pederson must have gotten a feel for him as a player and a person.
That impression should go a long way toward determining whether the Eagles will be interested in Griffin.
Chase Daniel: The connection is obvious. Pederson coached Daniel for the last three years in Kansas City. He has watched him in practice and seen him learn game plans.
The caveats are also obvious. Daniel has barely played in his six-year NFL career. He is just six-feet tall. The Eagles have had quarterbacks about that size -- Michael Vick, Ty Detmer -- but there aren’t many having success around the NFL these days.
It’s hard to imagine choosing Daniel, who was undrafted in 2010, over Bradford, who was the first pick in the 2010 draft. But if the Eagles are really sold on one of the QBs in the draft, Daniel could be the veteran who runs the offense while the kid is learning it.
John Elway did a pretty good job of respecting Manning while discussing the situation at the combine this week. It seems very unlikely that the Broncos will let Osweiler get to the open market.