New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was asked who his starting quarterback would be at his introductory press conference, but the coach wasn’t in the mood to give many hints.
"There is nothing that's on the board right now, there's nothing that's off the board now," Kelly said. "Our sole focus and goal is that we're going to put an offense on the field that's going to score points.
“Whoever that is, I don't know."
Right now, there appear to be three clear options: Michael Vick, Nick Foles or a quarterback not currently on the roster. Draft pick, free agent or veteran acquired via trade — everything will be on the table if the team goes outside the Eagles’ roster for help. You have to figure that they will land at least one QB from outside, although it’s not clear if that player would be the odds-on favorite to start.
First, there’s Vick and his bloated contract. The odds of his returning at the current price structure ($15.5 million base for next season) are not high. He also has said he has no interest in restructuring. The team would owe him $3 million based on a provision if he’s on the roster on Feb. 6, so something will happen with him before then.
Foles doesn’t come at a high cost and is a good bet to remain on the roster, unless a team (Andy Reid’s Chiefs?) comes in with a strong trade offer. Kelly has been complementary of Foles, both during their time facing each other in the Pac-10 and in Kelly’s introductory press conference.
There is a misconception that Kelly ran an offense — and would bring said offense — that requires a mobile quarterback. That simply isn’t the case. What Kelly requires in his quarterback more than quick feet, however, is a quick mind. He demands that his QBs read and react with razor precision. That doesn’t read too much like Vick, based on his career to this point; it’s not clear yet if it reads Foles.
But he’s the favorite. It’s not a banner draft class for QB prospects, and the free-agent and trade markets might be tepid at best. Most of Kelly’s former quarterbacks at Oregon are not considered NFL-caliber starters. Of course, in that is the idea that he often took good, not great, players and made them highly productive. And that’s one major reason why he was an attractive option to the Eagles.