PHILADELPHIA ( — The Eagles value the backup quarterback position more than most for obvious reasons and that was highlighted again Saturday when the organization talked veteran Josh McCown out of retirement for the 2019 season.

Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the news and an NFL source confirmed it to

The 40-year-old McCown, 6-foot-4, 218 pounds, retired in the offseason after two years with the New York Jets and was set to become an analyst at ESPN, but when the phone rang with an offer to back up Carson Wentz for $2 million guaranteed and the opportunity to make well over $5M with incentives if forced to play, McCown put off the broadcast booth for at least another year.

After Nick Foles signed with Jacksonville in free agency Philadelphia planned for Nate Sudfeld to take a step forward and become Wentz’s primary backup, but the Indiana University product broke his left wrist in the preseason opener against Tennessee and is expected to miss multiple games at the start of the regular season.

On Thursday against the Jaguars, Sudfeld's nominal veteran competition, Cody Kessler, suffered a concussion in the first quarter leaving the Eagles with rookie Clayton Thorson as the only healthy QB on the roster, an untenable situation with Baltimore coming in for joint practices this week in advance of a Week 3 preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field.

McCown's arrival likely means the end of Kessler with the Eagles and probably caps out Thorson's fate at the practice squad for 2019.

As for Sudfeld, it allows the Eagles to be more cautious with the injury instead of rushing things. McCown, though, didn't come back without an assurance to be the main backup. He's started 76 NFL games while Sudfeld has thrown only 25 NFL passes.

Last season McCown served as a mentor to the No. 3 overall pick, Sam Darnold, with the Jets but he's also gotten plenty of playing time recently, starting 16 games over the past two seasons in North Jersey, amassing 3,465 passing yards with 19 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.

In some ways the NFL's ultimate jorneyman McCown entered the league way back in 2002 as a third-round pick of Arizona out of Sam Houston State and the Eagles will be the 11th NFL franchise the Texas native will have on his resume.

The Eagles officially announced the move later Saturday and waived receiver Braxton Miller on the 90-man roster to make room.

“It was an easy sell, to be quite honest,” McCown told the team's website after inking the deal. "... “The whole organization in general, just where they’ve been the last few years under Howie (Roseman) and Doug’s (Pederson) leadership, winning a championship and just the standard of excellence that they pursue and to come be a part of that and to have this opportunity this late in my career, to keep it going, I’m just excited to be part of it."

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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