When it comes to quarterbacks, the Eagles are damned if they do and damned if they don't.
Some people feel the Eagles gave up too much in the trade up to the second pick in the draft for Carson Wentz. Some believe Sam Bradford's contract extension became an unnecessary luxury in the wake of the bold move for Wentz. Others think Chase Daniel comes at a steep cost for somebody with so little game experience, who essentially amounts to an assistant coach in pads.
Yet the one thing those complaints all have in common is the implication the Eagles have somehow invested too many resources into the quarterback position. The position everybody agrees in most important in the NFL. The position this organization has been unable to get right for closing in on a decade.
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The Eagles are doing everything it takes to find and develop a franchise quarterback, and people actually have a problem with this? In fact, they're searching for problems with it?
At least one critic went so far as to rank the Eagles' current quarterback situation as the worst in the NFL a few weeks back. This is the same depth chart that features a former number one overall pick coming off of a career year, an eighth-year veteran who knows the new offense like the back of his hand and one of the most promising young signal-callers in the league.
Yes, the Eagles spent a ton, both in terms of money and draft picks (and talent) to trade up. But if a team only goes as far as its quarterback takes it in the NFL, as is so often said, the money and picks are moot until said quarterback is identified.
This way, the club has covered all of its bases. They have a starter in place who has all the physical tools and, in theory anyway, gives the team a chance to win this season and next. They have a blue-chip rookie who within a year or two could be ready to takeover the reins and lead the franchise for the next decade. They have a dedicated, intelligent backup who can help his teammates learn the system and maybe even make a spot start or two.
The Eagles' blueprint at quarterback takes on the situation from every conceivable angle. Try to win in 2016. Try to win in 2026. Try to win even if the starter goes down.
Is it a costly approach? No more so than putting all the eggs in Bradford's basket, or throwing Wentz to the wolves before he's ready or not signing an offensive guru to hold the clipboard because the price was too high.
When did we start making the case a team is doing too much to win?
It's obviously true the Eagles' strategy breeds controversy as well. That much became apparent when Bradford left to go pout for two weeks. The mere mention of the word "competition" by a member of the coaching staff is enough to spark a debate these days. And just wait until the team starts playing games and one quarterback outperforms another or there's an injury. Everybody will have a different opinion as to who should be playing.
Most of that stuff is just noise though. Ultimately, the coaches are going to play the quarterback who they feel gives the Eagles the best shot. Isn't that the only thing that really matters here?
While the depth chart admittedly is a bit crowded with the presence of three big-name quarterbacks, bear in mind the front office also had to protect against the possibility they wouldn't be able to move up in the draft. Suppose the Eagles had allowed Bradford to walk, but the Browns stayed at two and took Wentz. Then what? Should they have gone with Daniel and Mark Sanchez for 2016?
By retaining Bradford, the Eagles maintained some flexibility in the draft, plus can still trade him if he performs well this season. The Daniel addition made sense no matter how the draft played out, because the Eagles were taking a quarterback at some point in the process regardless. And signing both Bradford and Daniel should in no way impact the potentially franchise-altering opportunity to take Wentz, which it didn't.
Given the hand they were dealt coming into the offseason, the Eagles played the situation about as expertly as they could have.
That is as long as the primary goal is to put the quarterback debate to rest permanently. Everybody wants that, right?