The Philadelphia Eagles seemed set at the quarterback position this year when they decided to keep Nick Foles.
They brought back Foles a year ago on a two-year deal at $13 million as an insurance policy in case Carson Wentz was injured.
They cashed in that policy when Wentz went down late in the year and Foles led them to a Super Bowl victory.
Suddenly, Foles’ value went up.
But Foles couldn’t go anywhere because he’s under contract this year at $7 million, and the Eagles decided not to trade him.
The idea was he would retain the job until Wentz is ready to play.
But things haven’t worked according to plans.
Foles didn’t play in the opening exhibition game because of a shoulder strain. In the second game against the New England Patriots – the team he helped beat in the Super Bowl – Foles was 3 of 9 for 44 yards and sacked three times before injuring his shoulder again.
The Eagles said the injury turned out to be minor.
Meanwhile, Wentz returned to practice after the Patriots game and split practice reps with Foles.
It is unlikely Wentz will play in the final two preseason games, so the Eagles have to decide whether to play him in the first regular-season game against Atlanta without any game action in the preseason.
One thing that is obvious is that third-stringer Nate Sudfeld isn’t ready to step in this year.
A sixth-round pick by the Washington Redskins in 2016, Sudfeld didn’t play a down in his rookie season. He was cut a year a year ago and signed by the Eagles. He started the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers because Foles had a neck strain.
Sudfield showed potential as he completed 10 of 14 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns, including a 63-yard touchdown pass to Shelton Gibson in the 31-14 loss.
But Sufeld also threw two interceptions, including one on his third play of the game when he made a bad read and a bad throw — the kind of mistakes a young quarterback makes.
Sudfeld looked better against the Patriots as he completed 22 of 39 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns and an interception.
They have two more quarterbacks on the roster, Joe Callahan and Christian Hackenberg, who was recently signed, but they are practice-squad candidates at best. Hackenberg was a bust with the New York Jets, and Callahan spent time with three teams before signed with the Eagles in May.
Sudfield’s hope is to impress the Eagles enough that they keep him this year and give him a chance to replace Foles next year, when the Eagles probably can’t afford to match the deal Foles will get from another team. And the Eagles won’t have the cap room to afford to put the franchise tag on Foles.
If Sudfield is not the answer as the backup next year, the Eagles will have to address the backup quarterback situation.
But that is next year’s potential problem.
As the Eagles attempt to become the first team to repeat since the 2003-2004 Patriots, they have to decide whether Foles or Wentz will start the season.
I would start Foles, assuming his shoulder is completely healed, and give Wentz more time. They can always put him in if Foles struggles.
But who knows what the Eagles will do?
It’s the major decision coach Doug Pederson faces as the Eagles start their bid to repeat.
Pederson made all the right moves last year, so the Eagles have to hope he makes the right one to start this season.