Carson Wentz

With Nick Foles set to leave, Nate Sudfeld looks like the Eagles' man at backup quarterback

With Nick Foles set to leave, Nate Sudfeld looks like the Eagles' man at backup quarterback

INDIANAPOLIS — A couple years ago, all I knew about Nate Sudfeld was he kinda looked like Nick Foles. Both tall, lanky, white guys with dirty blonde hair. 

I also knew that some their teammates gave them crap for it, which made for a pretty funny story that I wrote back in 2017. 

But now, “Nick’s little brother” might have to take over for Foles. The Eagles decided and announced on Wednesday at the combine that they will let Foles walk in free agency, leaving vacant the very important role of backup quarterback. 

And it seems like it’s Sudfeld’s job to lose. 

“Nate’s done a great job,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “Nate’s really put himself in a position to compete for it. We don’t just go around and give out jobs, but at the same time, we want him to compete for that spot. We feel like he’s earned the opportunity to do that. I’m comfortable with him, what he’s done. He’s been with us now for a few years and understands our system. It’s a matter of him just embracing that and moving forward with it.”

If you’ve really been paying attention, you’ll know that Sudfeld is a restricted free agent. The Eagles have a few options here, but I think they’ll probably use a second-round tender on him. That means about a $3 million salary in 2019 (projected by OverTheCap) instead of an original-round tender price of just over $2 million. But it also means that if another team wants to sign Sudfeld and the Eagles don’t match, they’d get back a second-round pick instead of a sixth-rounder (Sudfeld was drafted in the sixth round). The Eagles used a second-round tender on Trey Burton a few years ago. It basically tells other teams to stay away. 

It’s pretty clear that the Eagles think pretty highly of Sudfeld. When asked about his skillset on Wednesday, Pederson praised Sudfeld’s size, arm, accuracy, mobility, pocket presence, awareness and comfortability in the Eagles’ offense. 

And then Howie Roseman said they have a lot of confidence in Sudfeld and they’re excited about him. 

But you don’t need to hear from the Eagles to know what they think of the 25-year-old quarterback. Actions speak much louder than words:

• The Eagles had a formal interview with Sudfeld at the 2016 combine. They ended up drafting Carson Wentz at No. 2 overall and Sudfeld was drafted by Washington in the sixth round. But when the combine was over, the Eagles reached out to Sudfeld to wish him luck. 

• Then the Eagles wooed him away from Washington before the 2017 season, convincing him to sign to their practice squad instead of staying with the Redskins. 

• When the Colts tried to poach Sudfeld from the Eagles’ practice squad in 2017, the Eagles quickly made a spot on their own 53-man roster to keep him. Until that point, Pederson had only kept two QBs on their roster. 

• When Wentz tore his ACL and LCL in December of 2017, the Eagles had more than a month before their first playoff game and didn’t bring in a veteran quarterback. 

• When Wentz suffered the stress fracture in his back in 2018, the Eagles again didn’t bring in a veteran backup. They were happy letting Sudfeld be the No. 2 behind Nick Foles. 

Remember, the Eagles’ backup quarterback position has been very important the last couple of seasons as Wentz has suffered two serious injuries. But based on their recent history, the Eagles seem to think Sudfeld is up for the challenge. 

So it seems like the Eagles would prefer Sudfeld win the job, but Pederson said they’re not going to just hand it over to him. So who will the Eagles bring in? A veteran or a prospect? 

“You can kind of go either way, you can go with the younger guy, you can kinda bring in a veteran free agent,” Pederson said. “But at the same time, I want Nate to compete for it and see where it’s at.”

I think it’s somewhat likely the Eagles either draft a quarterback in a late round or pick one up as an undrafted free agent. If that happens, it’s also pretty likely Sudfeld will have an important role next season as the Eagles’ backup quarterback. They’ve been grooming him for this. 

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Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman respond to critical report of Carson Wentz

Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman respond to critical report of Carson Wentz

INDIANAPOLIS — Three years ago, the Eagles were at the annual scouting combine to interview Carson Wentz and realized he was their target. 

Now, they’re answering questions about his personality.  

While Wentz has already commented himself (see story), Wednesday’s media session from the Indiana Convention Center offered executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson their first opportunity to address that PhillyVoice story that characterized Wentz as “selfish” and “egotistical.” 

Both adamantly defended their 26-year-old franchise quarterback. 

“We know Carson,” Roseman said. “And we know what kind of teammate he is and we know what kind of leader he is. You know, it’s ironic because as we’ve gone through free agency since we’ve had Carson, we’ve had so many guys who have wanted to come to Philly to play with him. None of that is any issue to us. We’re incredibly excited having him as our quarterback and excited about this season.”

Even Wentz admitted he can be selfish and he has been described by many as having a Type A personality. So it would be somewhat understandable if his personality would occasionally rub some of his teammates the wrong way. Everyone can’t like everyone. 

But Wentz has traits that a lot of great quarterbacks have, which is something I pointed out shortly after the original report surfaced. Pederson on Wednesday mentioned two of those great quarterbacks he played with.  

I learned when I was a player in this business, I played with one of the greatest players … he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett Favre … and Dan Marino. You know what, they had success because you’re not always going to be buddy-buddy with everybody. Do you build relationships with everybody? Yeah. But you hold everybody to a high standard, including myself. 

And we’re not in a feel-good business. We’re obviously in a business to win games and, ultimately, a championship and that’s our goal. If people get offended, I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is and you can’t make excuses for it, but at the same time, at the end of the day, we walk out on that football field, we’re united and we play the game.  

Yeah, Doug’s right. This isn’t a “feel-good” business. Pederson is known for his emotional intelligence and even he knows everyone won’t be best friends in a locker room of 53 guys who play different positions and come from different backgrounds. 

Wentz admitted that the last couple years have been tough on him emotionally and because of that, he might have neglected some of his duties as a teammate. His friend Jordan Matthews thought his teammates should have cut Wentz some slack. But, ultimately, winning is what matters. If a quarterback is a pain in the ass, it’s fine as long as he’s helping the team win. And as long as Wentz can stay healthy, the Eagles expect him to help them win a lot. 

One of the specific parts of the story that Wentz refuted was that he bullied offensive coordinator Mike Groh. In fact, Pederson seems to really enjoy the working relationship with Wentz as they prepare for games. He called it one of his strengths; anything to help them win a game. 

“We know how we all feel about Carson,” Pederson said. “Carson’s our quarterback. I love everything about Carson Wentz and the way he attacks his job every single day, the way he competes, the way he embraces the locker room. I don’t put a lot of weight in that, lot of stock in that. It’s his performance on the football field, obviously, and he understands where he’s at. He understands he has to stay on the field, obviously. He knows that. But at the same time, guys really rally around him, they support him. And listen, he’s one piece. He’s not the entire football team. We do this thing as a team. He’s a part of it.”

Pederson said that a few times on Wednesday: the most important thing for Wentz is his play on the field. Sure, he’s a leader and maybe there are some things he can work on as far as being the best leader and teammate he can be. 

Everyone can’t like everyone. Ultimately, it’s all about winning.

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Nick Foles will become free agent after Eagles opt against franchise tag

Nick Foles will become free agent after Eagles opt against franchise tag

The Eagles plan on letting Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles become an unrestricted free agent, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said Wednesday.

That means the Eagles won’t try to tag Foles and try to trade him, and it means also that the Eagles cannot limit Foles’ destination.

Once the league year starts in mid-March, he’ll be free to sign with any NFL team, and the Eagles will gain compensation in the 2020 draft.

“We’ve had incredible success with him when he’s had to play — four playoff wins in the last two years,” Roseman told reporters covering the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

“Great teammate, a huge resource for Carson and [Nate Sudfeld] as well, but at the same time he deserves an opportunity to lead a team. It’s a goal of his to lead another team, to lead another locker room, and we feel at this point it’s the right decision.

“We made this decision as an organization and we feel very comfortable with it. Hard decision because he’s someone who means a lot to us individually and personally, but we felt it was the right thing to do.”

Roseman wouldn’t speculate on whether it was his understanding that the Eagles would be allowed to franchise tag Foles the and then trade him, thereby limiting his destination and getting compensation in this year’s draft instead of next year’s.

“For us, this is a decision we made,” Roseman said. “We have an interpretation of the rules and what we can do, but at the end of the day it’s not going to factor anyway so it’s just a waste of time to talk about it.”

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