KC Joyner: Eagles Must Break the Bank for Mariota
Just about every team in the NFL is on the eternal search for their perfect franchise quarterback.
When you have one, you keep him forever, or until he retires. When you don't you have arguments back and forth by NFL fan bases on why the guy they currently has is right or wrong - usually meaning he is the wrong guy if there is such a split.
But make no argument about it the easiest way to sustained success in the National Football League is by finding a long-term, franchise level quarterback.
“There isn't a price that's too high to pay for a quarterback,” said ESPN NFL insider KC Joyner on the Sports Bash. "As long as that quarterback turns out to be a great franchise quarterback. It doesn't matter give up your whole draft, trade players, it doesn't matter what the price is if there is a franchise quarterback."
Since Nick Foles tremendous 27 touchdown and two interception season of 2013 there has been a split among Eagles fans, is he the franchise guy, can he lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl. After turning the ball over 13 times in just eight games in 2014, the split among Eagles fans grew larger leading fans down a unsteady road to even more uncertainty at the quarterback position. Mark Sanchez put up the best numbers in his career, but certainly didn't win over any Eagles fans. Foles is back for another year, Sanchez is a free agent, and Chip Kelly seems to want Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota - something Joyner thinks the Eagles must break that bank to do.
"It is clear this is one of those cases where getting Mariota could be the getting that franchise quarterback, and worth paying whatever price the Eagles have to pay."
Since Kelly was hired and subsequently promoted to head of player personnel, he's made no guarantee that Foles is his guy. After the season was over, Kelly would only say that he'll go through a long evaluation process on all his players, including Foles.
The problem for the Eagles is that they're unlikely to find serious competition for Foles unless they mortgage their future to move up in the draft for Mariota or the other top quarterback in this draft class Jameis Winston.
"What you're hearing is that it's going to take at least this years one, next years one, plus possibly Foles and thats just a starting point," Joyner explained.
Acquiring Mariota would likely cost the Eagles most of their 2015 draft class, but would be well worth it if he solves their quarterback problems. Something Joyner thinks he can do almost immediately.
Listen to KC Joyner discuss why the Eagles need to break the bank for Marcus Mariota:
Philadelphia currently holds the No. 20 overall pick.
With Kelly now in total control it would not be surprising to see the Eagles do something uncharacteristic and pull the trigger on a deal that big. The Eagles have been mentioned to be interested in former first round pick Jake Locker, some have suggested that they could bring Sanchez back to compete with Foles, but the loudest rumor continues to surround Mariota.
Mariota was asked about the possibility of playing for his former college coach this week at the combine.
"I just won the Heisman Trophy playing in the offense Chip created. You bet your sweet bippy I’d like to play in the NFL version of it."
Perhaps the reason that such a push for Mariota exists is the less than stellar draft class at quarterback, if the Eagles miss out on him, there really isn't a great option after the top two quarterbacks in this class combined with lackluster options in free agency when it begins on March 10.
"He's operated the Kelly system better than any other quarterback," Joyner stated. "Kelly has even said himself that Mariota is Peyton Manning like in his football knowledge."
Outside of Mariota, it looks like the Eagles would have to turn back to Foles.
"He (Mariota) offers much more upside than anyone, the Mariota/Kelly fit is perfect for paying this kind of price," Joyner believes.
Due to the lack of depth in the draft, free agency is the likeliest option for the Eagles to add competition at the quarterback position . Whether it’s bringing back Sanchez, Jake Locker or someone else, the Eagles will need to add someone to push Foles if they don't break the bank for Mariota.
How about the people who say, why break the bank, you have Foles, fix the other areas of need first and let Foles play another year.
"You can coach up a lot of other areas," Joyner explained. "You have to go out and get a franchise quarterback, they aren't going to fall to you, you can't coach that position up, you need to go out and get that type of player."