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Friday, April 19, 2024

Eagles add more quarterback depth after Kenny Pickett trade

Philadelphia Eagles‘ fans probably still have a bitter taste in their mouths over how the team squandered the 2023-24 season, but it is much easier to let go of the recent past thanks to a lively offseason.

General manager Howie Roseman has been aggressive in free agency, adding potentially high-impact players on offense and defense, while also locking up kicker Jake Elliott to a hefty contract extension. The Eagles have a potent mix of All-Pro/Pro Bowl talent and solid depth pieces. Following an embarrassing end to the year that reeked of dysfunction, they are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to reclaim the NFC crown.

That includes solidifying the quarterback position. Philly is signing former Carolina Panthers signal-caller Will Grier, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He has not played in a game since the 2019-20 season but spent time on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad before bouncing around to a few other teams last year.

Grier will likely complete the Eagles QB depth chart, which looks much different than the state of Pennsylvania initially anticipated.

Eagles wasted little time in shoring up their QB room

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) against the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at Acrisure Stadium.
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Grier, the No. 100 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, joins the team a week after it acquired quarterback Kenny Pickett in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jalen Hurts’ role as the starter is obviously unquestioned, but it is still interesting to see Roseman scoop up a former first-rounder early in the offseason. The value of backup QBs is increasing.

While health is always a major concern, the need for an insurance policy feels greater than ever before. The extra emphasis on head and neck safety requires teams to be more prepared for an injury suffered by the face of the franchise. Cincinnati Bengals fans were dejected when Joe Burrow underwent season-ending surgery in 2023, but Jake Browning kept them invested far longer than was expected.

A competent backup quarterback can keep playoff hopes alive. The Eagles are fully aware that Hurts’ run-heavy playing style leaves him exposed to possible injury. He was banged-up and did not look like himself in the latter part of last season, hence the organization is not taking any chances.

Pickett is at a crossroads. The 25-year-old can accept his current reality as a second-stringer and learn from someone who worked hard to shatter expectations like Hurts, or he can lament his predicament. Both sides benefit from this new arrangement.

Health might be the only real obstacle in the Eagles’ way

There were alarming problems on this team in 2023-24. They may not be resolved, but given the efforts the organization has made in stabilizing the coaching staff and upgrading its personnel, confidence should be high in Philly.

Saquon Barkley can be a game-changer out of the backfield, former All-Pro linebacker Devin White is playing for a bigger contract next offseason and C.J. Gardner-Johnson is back in the place that saw him reach his peak. The vibes should ideally be different in a franchise that competed for a Super Bowl trophy a little more than a year ago.

Even when morale is good, though, injuries can be a death sentence to an NFL campaign. The Eagles are determined to build enough depth to soften any potentially devastating blows. Bringing in Kenny Pickett and Will Grier is a part of this cautious approach. It may not be flashy, but it shows they are thinking ahead. And that is something fans tend to appreciate.

Alex House_headshot

About the Author

Alex House is a sports journalist who covers the NFL, NBA, and MLB for ClutchPoints. He grew up in a New York sports-heavy region in Connecticut and earned his journalism degree at the University of Rhode Island. His in-depth knowledge of two of the most passionate and raucous fan bases in the country gives him a truly unique writing voice.



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