Eagles Bringing in Journeyman QB Bethel-Thompson
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles have made a move at the game's most important position but it was no preemptive $20 million-strike to keep Sam Bradford off the free-agent market.
The team is bringing in veteran, strong-armed journeyman McLeod Bethel-Thompson. The move was first reported by ESPN's Adam Caplan and an NFL source confirmed the news to 973espn.com.
The 27-year-old Bethel-Thompson is a big quarterback (6-foot-4, 230) known for his fastball but not his accuracy. He's piled on the frequent-flyer miles in a five-year professional career that started in the Arena Football League with the San Jose SaberCats.
Since that time Bethel-Thompson has lived a Johnny Cash song because "he's been everywhere man." The San Francisco native has spent time with the 49ers, the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions, the Miami Dolphins, the Minnesota Vikings, another stint with the Niners, New England, a second go-round with the Vikings, another shot with Miami before heading back to the AFL with the Los Angeles Kiss and getting his third strike with San Francisco on its pratice squad last season.
His wandering nature actually started back in college where Bethel-Thompson was a big-time recruit out of San Francisco's Balboa High School in 2006 as the City's Football Player of the Year. He chose UCLA and after a redshirt season he started for the Bruins in the '07 Las Vegas Bowl but when coach Rick Neuheisel was set to move forward with junior college transfer Kevin Craft the next season, Bethel-Thompson decided to transfer closer to home, moving to FCS school Sacramento State.
Both Bradford and 2015 third-stringer Thad Lewis are pending free agents for Philadelphia in March when the new league year starts and Bethel-Thompson figures to be in the mix for the third-team spot come August.
Backup Mark Sanchez remains under contract with the Eagles and the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that new coach Doug Pederson sees his former backup with the Chiefs, Chase Daniel, as "more than a backup," fueling speculation that the veteran could be brought to Philadelphia as the starter.
EAGLES SIGN CFL ALL-STAR CB
In another minor move the Eagles added Canadian Football League cornerback Aaron Grymes, according to his agents at Reign Sports.
The 24-year-old Grymes (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) was a CFL All-Star last season with the Edmonton Eskimos. He played college football at the University of Idaho before signing with the Eskimos in '13. In his three seasons north of the border, Grymes played in 41 games and amassed 101 tackles, eight interceptions, and one sack.
The Eagles projected starters on the outside at corner are Byron Maxwell and Eric Rowe and Grymes is set to join a supporting group which includes Jaylen Watkins as well as second-year players JaCorey Shepherd, who missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL, as well as Randall Evans, and Denzel Rice.
Veterans Nolan Carroll and E.J. Biggers are set to become free agents on March 9.
Judging by his size, Grymes will likely be penciled in as a potential slot option to start.
TEAM BOLSTERS WR DEPTH
The Eagles also bolstered their wide receiver depth on Thursday, inking a pair of players in Seantavius Jones and Xavier Rush.
The 6-3, 200-pound Jones spent the past two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, appearing in three regular-season games while shuttling back back and forth between the practice squad and active roster. In '15, Jones worked with new wide receivers coach Greg Lewis, who was an offensive assistant in New Orleans.
Originally, a rookie free agent out of Valdosta State, Jones racked up 149 receptions for 2,374 yards and 33 touchdowns in college, earning All-Gulf South Conference first-team honors in both his junior and senior seasons.
Rush, meanwhile, is a track guy who saw his college career at Tulane cut short due to an ACL injury in 2014. He finished with 99 catches for 1,349 yards and 12 touchdowns with the Green Wave. Also 6-3, Rush showed his explosiveness before the knee injury as each of his three touchdowns as a senior went for at least 60 yards.
Jones and Rush join a position group which wasn't very productive in '15 and is now minus Riley Cooper, who was recently released.
Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff are the three main cogs still on the roster with Jonathan Krause and Freddie Martino in reserve. Veteran special-teamer Seyi Ajirotutu is set to become a free agent.
UNDERMANNED FRONT OFFICE LOSES ANOTHER
Finally, it also came to light that the Eagles have moved on from college scouting coordinator Matt Lindsey, according to FootballScoop.com.
While 973espn.com has not been able to confirm the move independently, the fact that Lindsey is no longer listed on the team's website is strong evidence.
Lindsey had been with the team since '14 and his absence means the Eagles are heading into draft season undermanned in the college-scouting department, although Howie Roseman did recently bring back former college scouting director Anthony Patch in an advisory role.
The team reportedly put its search for a new player personnel chief on hold until after the 2016 NFL Draft.
Roseman is the leading the team's football operations with senior director of player personnel Tom Donahoe handling the day-to-day duties of the personnel department. Once the new personnel chief is hired he will take over for Donahoe, the former Steelers' GM, who will then return to his previous advisory role.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen