Eagles Notebook: Source: Birds interested in Sanchez

FILE PHOTO Mark Sanchez' star has dimmed, but he's still only 27.
FILE PHOTO Mark Sanchez' star has dimmed, but he's still only 27.
Posted: March 26, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. - One of the questions arising from the departure of Michael Vick is about what the Eagles are going to do at the quarterback position, behind Nick Foles. Given Chip Kelly's oft-stated enthusiasm for 2013 rookie Matt Barkley, will the Birds just move Barkley up a spot and draft a QB, making the whole group extremely inexperienced? Or will a veteran come in and either compete with or usurp Barkley?

We moved closer to an answer yesterday, when ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the Eagles were the favorites to sign Mark Sanchez, the 27-year-old the Jets jettisoned when they signed Vick.

A source close to the situation confirmed the Eagles' interest but said the Birds won't proceed until their doctors check out Sanchez' surgically repaired throwing shoulder, which caused him to miss the 2013 season. Other teams reportedly are interested, and some of them - such as the Rams - might make more sense for a sixth-year QB who presumably retains the urge to be a starter. But maybe Sanchez doesn't see Foles as any more insurmountable an obstacle than Sam Bradford in St. Louis.

Sanchez preceded Barkley at USC, was the fifth player chosen in the 2009 draft, and led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons. If this were, say, 3 years ago, Vick and Sanchez swapping spots would have been the most amazing NFL story of the spring.

But Sanchez, like Vick, has seen his luster fade these past three seasons. Everybody knows about the "butt fumble," a video clip that will outlive both Sanchez and guard Brandon Moore. The play has its own Wikipedia entry. Sanchez, trying to scramble, ran into the rear end of his blocker, fumbled, and fell. New England's Steve Gregory picked the ball up and ran it in for a touchdown, on Thanksgiving Day 2012.

Of more pressing concern might be the fact that Sanchez, 6-2, 225, has thrown more career interceptions (69) than touchdown passes (68), or that his career completion rate is 55.1 percent.

Last summer, Sanchez was supposed to compete with second-round rookie Geno Smith for the starting job, but he injured his right shoulder after he was tossed into the final minutes of an Aug. 24 preseason game, behind a backup offensive line. This ended his season and led to a permanent rift with the organization.

If the Eagles sign Sanchez, they would seem pretty unlikely to draft a quarterback this year, and all three of their presumed 2014 QBs will be classic dropback passers with limited mobility, which is not at all what many people expected from Kelly. (There is a fourth QB on the roster as well, G.J. Kinne.) But assuming Sanchez' shoulder is OK, (the New York Daily News said yesterday it's about 80 percent right now) it would be hard to find a more experienced, accomplished backup, and some New York observers feel the general chaos of the Jets organization fueled Sanchez' fall there, more than a lack of ability.

Yesterday, before the Sanchez report broke, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was asked whether he was looking for an experienced backup to Foles.

"That's one of the positions we've always talked about having a lot of depth, a lot of competition," Roseman said during a break in the NFL meetings. "If there was an opportunity for us to add a player that we thought added competition, was a good player, we'd have to look at that."

Some fans will wonder why the Eagles didn't just bring back Vick. But Vick didn't want to stay if he thought he might get a chance to compete for a starting job elsewhere, and he apparently will get that chance with the Jets.

"It was about the opportunity [to start] and what he wanted to do," Roseman said. "We couldn't compete with that."


Howie Roseman said he would like to have more than the six draft picks the Eagles currently possess . . . The Eagles didn't have the free-agency losses to be among the 13 teams granted compensatory picks yesterday . . . The NFL announced the totals for supplemental, performance-based pay, which usually goes to lower-level draftees who start. Ranking eighth in the league was the $259,815.06 earned by Eagles center Jason Kelce.

On Twitter: @LesBowen

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