Eagles Will Bring In QB Cody Kessler
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles have their competition for the backup quarterback job.
A league source confirmed to 973espn.com that Philadelphia will be signing Cody Kessler on Monday.
A Southern Cal product, Kessler, 26, has played in 16 games and started 12 in stints with Cleveland and Jacksonville since being drafted in 2016 by the Browns, ironically with part of the haul Cleveland received in the Carson Wentz deal.
The efficacy hasn't necessarily been there as Kessler won just two of his 12 starts but they were generally with bad teams and his numbers, a completion percentage of 64 percent with eight touchdowns and five interceptions.
Earlier this offseason the Eagles expressed confidence in Nate Sudfeld taking the next step in his career and becoming the backup after Nick Foles left in free agency for a big money deal in Jacksonville. The caveat, however, was that Philadelphia didn't want to hand a job to anyone.
"We're happy with Nate (Sudfeld), and we are excited for him," coach Doug Pederson said at the NFL Owners Meeting. "This is a big opportunity for Nate coming up this spring. An opportunity to really show us again what he's capable of doing and can he handle the number two spot. I've always been, this has always been my career, you always want guys to compete for spots and not hand anything out. I think that's something that we will continue to explore, but we are really comfortable with Nate."
That exploration finally landed on Kessler, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound west coast-style signal caller who was a three-year starter with the Trojans throwing for 88 touchdowns vs. just 19 interceptions at USC.
That was good enough to turn Kessler into the 93rd overall pick by Cleveland when current Eagles vice president of football operations Andrew Berry was in personnel with the Browns. Kessler started eight games with Cleveland as a rookie and had four more starts with the Jaguars in 2018. He was 0-8 with a dismal Browns team and a more manageable 2-2 as the starter in Jacksonville.
The odds are against Kessler and he would likely have to beat out Sudfeld for the backup job behind Wentz to make the 53-man roster. Rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson has the inside track on the No. 3 job as the developmental prospect.
Sudfeld, 25, is entering his fourth professional season as a former sixth-round pick by Washington in the same 2016 draft as Wentz and Kessler and has been the Eagles third-string QB behind Carson and Foles, first signing a practice-squad deal at the start of 2017 campaign before being elevated to the Eagles' active roster in November when Indianapolis tried to sign him to its 53-man roster.
In limited playing time with Pederson's offense, Sudfeld has completed 20-of-25 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown.
The Eagles also have former AAF signal caller, Luis Perez, on the roster although that could change once the Kessler signing becomes official.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen